Skip to main content

Full text of "Biblical Commentary Old Testament. Keil and Delitzsch.6 vols.complete.Clark'sFTL.1864.1892."

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . qooqle . com/ 

Bx. zo/5,92. 

Harvard College Library 



Class of 1884 

Professor of Arabic 



Class of 1919 

Digitized by 


Digitized by VjOOQlC 

Digitized by 






Srlit|«cf)'* Comnuntarj? on t|)c $*alm*. 
VOL. I. 


Digitized by 




London ; sncnciN, Marshall, Hamilton, kent, and co. limited, 
new york : charles scribnkrs sons. 
Toronto: the Presbyterian news co. 

Digitized by 










Cranslattft from % §amm 




VOL. I. 



Digitized by 


"3-i lois.f*. 

**"V«D COLLEGE lib,, , 
\ *«•<>. 1943 


Digitized by 



SEVEN whole years have passed since the publication of 
my Commentar Ober den Psalter (2 vols. 1859-60), and 
during this period large and important contributions have been 
made towards the exposition of the Psalms. Of Hupfeld's 
Commentary the last two volumes (vol. iii., 1860 ; vol. iv., 1862) 
have appeared since the completion of my own. Hitzig's 
(1835-36) has appeared in a new form (2 vols., 1863-65), 
enriched by the fruit of nearly thirty years' progressive study. 
And the Commentary of Ewald has taken the field for the 
third time (1866), with proud words scorning down all fellow- 
workers, in order that all honour may be given to itself alone. 
In addition to these, Boucher's New Kritische Aehrenlese, 
issued by Miihlau after the author's death, has furnished valu- 
able contributions towards the exposition of the Psalms (Abth. 
2, 1864) ; Von Ortenberg in the department of textual criti- 
cism (Zur Textkritik der Psalmen, 1861), and Kurtz in that of 
theology (Zur Theologie der Psalmen, in the Dorpater Zeitsehrift, 
1864-65), have promoted the interpretation of the Psalms; and 
aide by side with these, Bohl's Zw6lf Messianische Psalmen 
("Twelve Messianic Psalms," 1862) and Kamphausen's ex- 
position of the Psalms in Bunsen's Bibelwerk (1863) also claim 

I had therefore no lack of external inducements for the 
revision of my own Commentary ; but I was also not uncon- 
scious of its defects. Despite all this, Hupfeld's inconsiderate 
and condemnatory judgment caused me paip- In an essuy 

Digitized by 

Google - 


on the faithful representation of the text of the Old Testament 
according to the Masora {LxUheriaehe Zeittchrift, 1863) I inci- 
dentally gave expression to this feeling. On the 20th of 
October 1863 Hupfeld wrote to me, " I have only just seen 
your complaint of my judgment at the close of my work on 
the Psalms. The complaint is so gentle in its tone, it partakes 
so little of the bitterness of my verdict, and at the same time 
strikes chords that are not yet deadened within me, and which 
have not yet forgotten how to bring back the echo of happier 
times of common research and to revive the feeling of gratitude 
for faithful companionship, that it has touched my heart and 
conscience." He closes his letter with the hope that he may 
one day have an opportunity of expressing publicly how that 
harsh and untempered judgment is now repugnant to his own 
feelings. Up to the present time I have made no use what- 
ever of this letter. I regarded it as a private matter between 
ourselves. Since, however, Biehm has transferred that judg- 
ment unaltered to the second edition of the first volume of the 
Commentary of Hupfeld, I owe it not to myself alone, but also 
to him who is since deceased, to explain that this has not been 
done in accordance with his wish. 

Hitzig's new Commentary has been of the greatest service 
to me in the revision and re-working of my own. In it I found 
mine uniformly taken into account from beginning to end, 
either with or without direct mention, and subjected to severe 
but kindly-disposed criticism ; and here and there not without 
a ready recognition of the scientific advance which could not 
but be observed in it. In comparison with such an unmerciful 
judgment as that which Hupfeld pronounced upon me, and 
which Ewald a few years later with very similar language pro- 
nounced upon him, I here met with reasonable criticism of the 
matter, and, notwithstanding the full consciousness of the 
thoroughly original inquirer, an appreciation of the toil be- 
stowed by others upon their work. 

I am the more encouraged to hope that all those who do not 

Digitized by 



hold scientific love of truth and progress to be the exclusive 
privilege of their own tendencies, will find in this new thoroughly 
revised edition of my Commentary much that is instructive, and 
much that is more correctly apprehended. The fact that I 
have still further pressed the Oriental learning of Fleischer 
and Wetzstein into the service of Biblical science will not be 
unwelcome to my readers. But that I have also laid Jewish 
investigators under contribution is due to my desire to see the 
partition wall between Synagogue and Church broken down. 
The exposition of Scripture has not only to serve the Church 
of the present, but also to help in building up the Church 
of the future. In this spirit I commend the present work 
to the grace and blessing of the God of the history of re- 

Eblangen, 1th July 1867. 

Note on nw. 

Jahve is (1) the traditional pronunciation, and (2) the pro- 
nunciation to be presupposed in accordance with the laws of 
formation and of vowel sounds. It is the traditional, for 
Theodoret and Epiphanius transcribe 'Iafii. The mode of 
pronunciation 'Aid (not 'Iafid), on the contrary, is the repro- 
duction of the form of the name m, and the mode of pronun- 
ciation 'law of the form of the name W, which although 
occurring only in the Old Testament in composition, had once, 
according to traces that can be relied on, an independent 
existence. Also the testimonies of the Talmud and post- 
talmudical writings require the final sound to be n— , and the 
corresponding name by which God calls Himself, nviM t is 
authentic security for this ending. When it is further con- 

Digitized by 



sidered that W (whence W) according to analogous contractions 
has grown out of nw, and not out of nw, and that the Hebrew 
language exhibits no proof of any transition from n— to f— 
which would not at the same time be a transition from the 
masculine to the feminine, it must be conceded that the pro- 
nunciation Jahve is to be regarded as the original pronunciation. 
The mode of pronunciation Jehova has only come up within 
the last three hundred years; our own "Jahavd" [in the 
first edition] was an innovation. We now acknowledge the 
patristic To/Se, and hope to have another opportunity of sub- 
stantiating in detail what is maintained in this prefatory note. 

Digitized by 



Ant justification of the retention of the exact orthography of 
the author, explained above, ought to be needless. The J has 
been retained, inasmuch as this representative of the Hebrew 
Jod or Yod is become thoroughly naturalized in our Scripture 
names although wrongly pronounced (compare as an exception 
to this the y sound of the j in the word " Hallelujah," which 
may perhaps be accounted for by the Greek form of the word 
adopted in our version of the New Testament). Although the 
quiescent final h (He) has been, with Dr. Delitzsch, omitted 
here, it is still retained in other Scripture names in accordance 
with the customary orthography. 

The Hebrew numbering of the verses is followed in the 
text of each Psalm, and in the references generally. In a 
few instances only, where the difference between the Hebrew 
and the English divisions might prove perplexing to the English 
reader, both are given ; e.g. Lev. vi. 5 [12], Joel iv. [iii.] 3. To 
the student Baer's critical text of the Psalter (Liber Psalmorum 
Hebraicus. Textum masorethicum accuratius quam adhuc factum 
est expressit, brevem de accentibus metritis institutional* prcemisit, 
notas critieas adjecit S. Boer. Prce/atus est Fr. Delitzsch. 1861. 
Lipsis, Dorffling et Franke. Cr. 8vo, pp. xiv. 134), often 
referred to by Dr. Delitzsch, will be found to be a useful 
companion to this Commentary, and more particularly as illus- 
trating the pointings and accentuation adopted or mentioned in 
the notes. 

It is almost superfluous to say that it has been altogether 
impracticable to follow Dr. Delitzsch in his acrostic repro- 
duction of the Alphabetical Psalms. 

F. B. 

Ellakd, 31«( January 1871 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 




f 1. Position of the Psalter among the Hagiographa, and more 

especially among the Poetical Books, 
§ 2. Names of the Psalter, 
§ 3. The History of Psalm Composition, 
§ 4. Origin of the Collection, . 
§ 5. Arrangement and Inscriptions, . 
§ 6. The Strophe-system of the Psalms, 
§ 7. Temple Music and Psalmody, . 
§ 8. Translations of the Psalms, 
§ 9. History of the Exposition of the Psalms, 
§ 10. Theological Preliminary Considerations, 



First Book of the Psalter, Ps. i.-xli. 
Psalm i. to xxxv., 81-428 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 




fldtvxa fisitep iv ptf&Xy rivl xal xotvtji xay.itltf x-jj [i(f3X<p tS» 
iJioX(j.(uv Tt9r)oa6ptsTat. 


rot. i. 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 

Digitized by 



The Psalter is everywhere regarded as an essential part 
of the Kethubim or Hagiographa; but its position among these 
varies. It seems to follow from Luke xxiv. 44 that it open- 
ed the Kethubim in the earliest period of the Christian 
era.* The order of the books in the Hebrew MSS. of the 
German class, upon which our printed editions in general use 
are based, is actually this: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and the five 
Megilloth. But the Masora and the MSS. of the Spanish 
class begin the Kethubim with the Chronicles which they 
awkwardly separate from Ezra and Nehemiah, and then 
range the Psalms, Job, Proverbs and the five Megilloth 
next.** And according to the Talmud (Baba Bathra 146) 

* Also from 2 Mace. ii. 13, where td tou Aau(8 appears to be the 
designation of the D'SirD according to their beginning ; and from Philo, 
J)e vita contempl. (Opp. n. 475 ed. Mangey), where he makes the follow- 
ing distinction v6|xooc xal Xiyia OeoictaO^vTa Sid ^potprjTmv xal Spvouc xal 
to aXXa ole teio-njjAT) xal eiSaipeia auva6£ovcai xal ttXetouvcai. 

** In all the Masoretic lists the twenty four books are arranged in 
the following order: 1) DVrtTQ; 2) niDC r&N); 3) Nip'l; 4) "DTI (also 

-CDD3); 5) Dnain rkn; 6) ymv, 7) D'DBitf; 8) bN?Dtf; 9) d^Vd; 
io) rvyfr; ii) rwry; 12) ^Nptrp; 13) ivy nn; 14) d^dti nan; 
15) nbrvrt; 16) aw; n) ^tfc; i8)nn; 19) Dn^ifn tw; 20) rbnp; 
21) nii'p (row); 22) tfnrtfriN (rbio); 23) buy-); 24) eoty. The Masor- 
etic abbreviation for the three pre-eminently poetical books is accord- 
ingly, not no"H but (in agreement with their Talmndic order) DN"n 
(as also in Chajug'), turf. Elia Levita, Masoreth ha-Matoreth p. 19. 73 (ed. 
Fen. 1538) [ed. Ginsburg, 1867, p. 120, 248]. 

Digitized by 



the following is the right order: Ruth, Psalms, Job, Pro- 
verbs; the Book of Ruth precedes the Psalter as its prologue, 
for Ruth is the ancestor of him to whom the sacred lyric owes 
its richest and most flourishing era. It is undoubtedly the 
most natural order that the Psalter should open the division 
of the Eethubim, and for this reason: that, according to the 
stock which forms the basis of it, it represents the time of 
David, and then afterwards in like manner the Proverbs and 
Job represent the Chokma- literature of the age of Solomon. 
But it is at once evident that it could have no other place 
but among the Eethubim. 

The codex of the giving of the Law, which is the founda- 
tion of the old covenant and of the nationality of Israel, as 
also of all its subsequent literature, occupies the first place 
in the canon. Under the collective title of OW2J, a series 
of historical writings of a prophetic character, which trace 
the history of Israel from the occupation of Canaan to the 
first gleam of light in the gloomy retributive condition of the 
Babylonish Exile (Prophetee priores) is first attached to these 
five books of the Thora; and then a series of strictly propheti- 
cal writings by the prophets themselves which extend to the 
time of Darius Nothus, and indeed to the time of Nehemiah's 
second sojourn in Jerusalem under this Persian king (Pro- 
phetee potteriores). Regarded chronologically, the first series 
would better correspond to the second if the historical books 
of the Persian period (Chronicles with Ezra, Nehemiah, and 
Esther) were joined to it; but for a very good reason this has 
not been done. The Israelitish literature has marked out two 
sharply defined and distinct methods of writing history, viz. 
the annalistic and the prophetic. The so-called Elohistic and 
so-called Jehovistic form of historical writing in the Penta- 
teuch might serve as general types of these. The historical 
books of the Persian period are, however, of the annalistic, 
not of the prophetic character (although the Chronicles have 
taken up and incorporated many remnants of the prophetic 
form of historical writing, and the Books of the Eings , vice 
versd, many remnants of the annalistic): they could not 
therefore stand among the Proplietce priores. But with the 
Book of Ruth it is different. This short book is so like the 
end of the Book of the Judges (ch. xvii — xxi), that it might 

Digitized by 



very well stand between Judges and Samuel; and it did 
originally stand after the Book of the Judges, just as the 
Lamentations of Jeremiah stood after his prophecies. It 
is only on liturgical grounds that they have both been placed 
with the so-called Megilloth (Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, 
Ecclesiastes, and Esther, as they are arranged in our ordin- 
ary copies according to the calendar of the festivals). All 
the remaining books could manifestly only be classed under 
the third division of the canon, which (as could hardly have 
been otherwise in connection with min and DW2J) has been 
entitled, in the most general way, DOITO, — a title which, as the 
grandson of Ben-Sira renders it in his prologue [to Ecclesias- 
ticus], means simply xa aXXa itdxpta ptf)X(a, or t& Xonca ?d>v 
f3i|3Xta>v, and nothing more. For if it were intended to mean 
writings, written tshpn TXTQ, — as the third degree of inspi- 
ration which is combined with the greatest spontaneity ol 
spirit, is styled according to the synagogue notion of inspi- 
ration, — then the words Bhpn TVPQ would and ought to 
stand with it. 


At the close of the seventy -second Psalm (ver. 20) wo 
find the subscription: u Are ended the prayers of David, the 
Son of Jesse. 9 The whole of the preceding Psalms are here 
comprehended under the name ni^BFl. This strikes one as 
strange, because with the exception of Ps. xvii (and further 
on Ps. lxxxvi, xc, cii, cxlii) they are all inscribed other- 
wise ; and because in part, as e. g. Ps. i and ii, they contain 
no supplicatory address to God and have therefore not the 
form of prayers. Nevertheless the collective name Tephilloth 
is suitable to all Psalms. The essence of prayer is a direct 
and undiverted looking towards God, and the absorption of 
the mind in the thought of Him. Of this nature of prayer 
all Psalms partake; even the didactic and laudatory, though 
containing no supplicatory address, — like Hannah's song of 
praise which is introduced with WJenm (1 Sam. ii. 1). The 
title inscribed on the Psalter is D^HFI (1ED) for which O'^n 
(apocopated 'Wi) is also commonly used, as Hippolytus (ed. 

Digitized by 



lie Lagarde p. 188) testifies: 'EppaTot irepie']fpa< r , av t^v |3t|3Xo» 
Zs<ppa OeXeij*.* This name may also seem strange, for the 
Psalms for the most part are hardly hymns in the proper 
sense: the majority are elegiac or didactic; and only a solit- 
ary one, Ps. cxlv, is directly inscribed n^Tin. But even 
this collective name of the Psalms is admissible, for they all 
partake of the nature of the hymn, to wit the purpose of the 
hymn, the glorifying of God. The narrative Psalms praise 
the magnolia Dei, the plaintive likewise praise Him, since 
they are directed to TTim as the only helper, and close with 
grateful confidence that He will hear and answer. The verb 
hftn includes both the Magnificat and the De profundi*. 

The language of the Masora gives the preference to the 
feminine form of the name, instead of D^nn, and throughout 
calls the Psalter ni^rin 1SD (e. g. on 2 Sam. xxii. 5).** In 
the Syriac it is styled k'tobo d'mazmure, in the Koran zabur 
(not as Golius and Freytag point it, zubur), which in the 
usage of the Arabic language signifies nothing more than 
"writing" (synon. kitdb: vid. on iii. 1), but is perhaps a cor- 
ruption of mizmor from which a plural mezdmir is formed, by 
a change of vowels, in Jewish-Oriental MSS. In the Old Testa- 
ment writings a plural of mizamor does not occur. Also in 
the post-biblical usage mizmorim or mizmoroth is found only 
in solitary instances as the name for the Psalms. In Hellen- 
istic Greek the corresponding word <JkxX|mh (from t|i£XXeiv — 
*H3|) is the more common; the Psalm collection is called pi(3Xo; 
<(iaX(id>v (Lk. xx. 42, Acts i. 20) or ^aXtrjptov, the name of 
the instrument (psanterin in the Book of Daniel) *** being 

* In EusebiaB, vi. 25: Z£tpT)p OtXX^v; Jerome (in the Preface to his 
translation of the Psalms juxta Hebraicam veritatem) points it still differ- 
ently: SEPHAR THALLIM quod interpretatur volumen hymnorum. Accord- 
ingly at the end of the Psalterium ex Hebrteo, Cod. 19 in the Convent 
Library of St. Gall we find the subscription : Sephar Tallim Quod interpre- 
tatur volumen Ymnorum explicit. 

** It is an erroneous opinion of Boxtorf in his Tiberias and also of 
Jewish Masoretes, that the Masora calls the Psalter nWh (halttla). 
It is only the so-called Hallel, Ps. cxiii — cxix, that bears this name, 
for in the Masora on 2 Sam. xxii. 5, Ps. cxvi. 3 a is called N W?m VOTI 
(the similar passage in the Hallel) in relation to xviii. 5 a. 

•** NdpXa — say Eusebins and others of the Greek Fathers — itop* 
Eppo(oi« Xefttat «& ^aXx^ptov, 8 89) p.6vov t fiv poosixdtv 6pY<iva>v ipdoraTov 

Digitized by 



transferred metaphorically to the songs that are sung with 
its accompaniment. Psalms are songs for the lyre, and there- 
fore lyric poems in the strictest sense. 


Before we can seek to obtain a clear idea of the origin of 
the Psalm -collection we must take a general survey of the 
course of the development of psalm writing. The lyric is 
the earliest kind of poetry in general, and the Hebrew poetry, 
the oldest example of the poetry of antiquity that has come 
down to us, is therefore essentially lyric. Neither the Epos 
nor the Drama, but only the Mashal, has branched off from 
it and attained an independent form. Even prophecy, which 
is distinguished from psalmody by a higher impulse which the 
mind of the writer receives from the power of the divine mind, 
shares with the latter the common designation of N33 (1 Chron. 
xxv. 1 — 3), and the psalm -singer, "ntsto, is also as such 
called nih (1 Chron. xxv. 5; 2 Chron. xxix. 30, xxxv. 15, cf. 
1 Chron. xv. 19 and freq.); for just as the sacred lyric often 
rises to the height of prophetic vision, so the prophetic epic 
of the future, because it is not entirely freed from the sub- 

xoi \xi\ cnvspi'oOjj.evov e{( JJX 0V ** T<5v rormtdfaij [AepuW, dXX* SvcuOev iytart 
•t6v 67:t)7_o5vto ^aXx6v. Augustine describes this instrument still more 
clearly in Ps. zlii and elsewhere: Psalterium itlud organum dieitur quod de 
superior e parte habet testudinem, iltud scilicet tympanum et concavum lig- 
num cut chorda; innitentes resonant, cithara vero id ipsum lignum cavum 
et sonorum ex inferiore parte habet. In the cithern the strings pass over 
the sound-board, in the harp and lyre the vibrating body runs round the 
strings which are left free (without a bridge) and is either curved or angular 
as in the case of the harp, or encompasses the strings as in the lyre. Harps 
with an upper sounding body (whether of metal or wood, viz. lignum concavum 
i. e. with a hollow and hence sonorous wood, which protects the strings 
like a lestudo and serves as a tympanum) are found both on Egyptian and 
on Assyrian monuments. By the psalterium described by Augustine, Caa- 
siodorus and Isidores understand the trigonum, which is in the form of 
an inverted sharp-cornered triangle; but it cannot be this that is intended 
because the horizontal strings of this instrument are surrounded by 
9. three-sided sounding body, so that it must be a triangular lyre. More- 
over there is also a trigon belonging to the Macedonian era which is 
formed like a harp {vid. Weiss' Kostumkunde, Fig. 347) and this further 
tends to support oar view. 

Digitized by 



jectivity of the prophet, frequently passes into the strain ol 
the psalm. 

The time of Moses was the period of Israel's birth as a 
nation and also of its national lyric. The Israelites brought 
instruments with them out of Egypt and these were the ac- 
companiments of their first song (Ex. xv.) — the oldest hymn, 
which re-echoes through all hymns of the following ages 
and also through the Psalter (comp. ver. 2 with Ps. cxviii. 
14; Ter. 3 with Ps. xxiv. 8; ver. 4, xiv. 27 with Ps. cxxxvi. 
15; ver. 8 with Ps. lxxviii. 13; ver. 11 with Ps. lxxvii. 14, 
lxxxvi. 8, lxxxix. 7 sq.; ver. 13, 17 with Ps. lxxviii. 54, and 
other parallels of a similar kind). If we add to these, Ps. 
xc and Deut. xxxii, we then have the prototypes of all 
Psalms, the hymnic, elegiac, and prophetico- didactic. All 
three classes of songs are still wanting in the strophic sym- 
metry which characterises the later art. But even Deborah's 
song of victory, arranged in hexastichs, — a song of triumph 
composed eight centuries before Pindar and far outstripping 
him, — exhibits to us the strophic art approximating to its 
perfect development. It has been thought strange that the 
very beginnings of the poesy of Israel are so perfect, but the 
history of Israel, and also the history of its literature, comes un- 
der a different law from that of a constant development from a 
lowerto a highergrade. Theredemptive period of Moses, unique 
in its way, influences as a creative beginning, every future deve- 
lopment. There is a constant progression, but of such a kind as 
only to develope that which had begun in the Mosaic age with 
all the primal force and fulness of a divine creation. We see, 
however, how closely the stages of this progress are linked to- 
gether, from the fact that Hannah the singer of the Old Testa- 
ment Magnificat, was themother of him who anointed,asEing, the 
sweet singer of Israel, on whose tongue was the word oftheLord. 

In David the sacred lyric attained its full maturity. Many 
things combined to make the time of David its golden age. 
Samuel had laid the foundation of this both by his energetic 
reforms in general, and by founding the schools of the pro- 
phets in particular, in which under his guidance (1 Sam. xix. 
19 sq.), in conjunction with the awakening and fostering of 
the prophetic gift, music and song were taught. Through 
these ccenobia, whence sprang a spiritual awakening hitherto 


Digitized by 



an&nown in Israel , David also passed. Here his poetic talent, 
if not awakened, was however cultivated. He was a musician 
and poet born. Even as a Bethlehemite shepherd he played 
upon the harp, and with his natural gift he combined a heart 
deeply imbued with religious feeling. But the Psalter con- 
tains as few traces of David's Psalms before his anointing 
(vid. on Ps. viii, cxliv.) as the New Testament does of the 
writings of the Apostles before the time of Pentecost. It was 
only from the time when the Spirit of Jahve came upon him 
at his anointing as king of Israel, and raised him to the dig- 
nity of his calling in connection with the covenant of redemp- 
tion, that he sang Psalms, which have become an integral 
part of the canon. They are the fruit not only of his 
high gifts and the inspiration of the Spirit of God (2 
Sam. xxiii. 2), but also of bis own experience and of the 
experience of his people interwoven with his own. David's 
path from his anointing onwards, lay through affliction to 
glory. Song however, as a Hindu proverb says, is the 
offspring of suffering, the floka springs from the poka. His 
life was marked by vicissitudes which at one time prompted 
him to elegiac strains, at another to praise and thanksgiving; 
at the same time he was the founder of the kingship of pro- 
mise, a prophecy of the future Christ, and his life, thus typ- 
ically moulded, could not express itself otherwise than in 
typical or even consciously prophetic language. Raised to 
the throne, he did not forget the harp which had been his 
companion and solace when he fled before Saul, but rewarded 
it with all honour. He appointed 4000 Levites, the fourth 
division of the whole Levitical order, as singers and musicians 
in connection with the service in the tabernacle on Zion and 
partly in Gibeon, the place of the Mosaic tabernacle. These 
he divided into 24 classes under the Precentors, Asaph, He- 
man, and Ethan=Jeduthun (1 Chron. xxv.comp.xv. 17 sqq.), 
and multiplied the instruments, particularly the stringed in- 
struments, by his own invention (1 Chron. xxiii. 5, Neh. xii. 
36*). In David's time there were three places of sacrifice: 

* I tended, says David in the Greek Psalter, at the close of Ps. cl., 
my father's sheep, my hands made pipes (Sp^vo* — nJiy) and my fingers 
put together (or : tuned) harps (d/aATijpiov » ?3J) cf. Humeri Rabba c. xvf 
(£. 264 a) and the Targura on Am. vi. 5. 

Digitized by 



on Zion beside the ark (2 Sam. vi. 17 sq.), in Gibeon beside the 
Mosaic tabernacle (1 Chron.zTi.39sq.) and later, on the thresh- 
ing-floor of Oman, afterwards the Temple-hill (1 Chron. xxi. 
28 — 30). Thus others also were stimulated in many ways to 
consecrate their offerings to the God of Israel. Beside the 
73 Psalms bearing the inscription mb , — Psalms the direct 
Davidic authorship of which is attested, at least in the case 
of some fifty, by their creative originality, their impassioned 
and predominantly plaintive strain, their graceful flow 
and movement, their ancient but clear, language, which be- 
comes harsh and obscure only when describing the dissolute 
conduct of the ungodly, — the collection contains the follow- 
ing which are named after cotemporary singers appointed by 
David: 12 Fpt6 (Ps. 1. lxxiii — lxxxiii) of which the contents 
and spirit are chiefly prophetic, and 12 by the Levite family 
of singers, the mp""03 (Ps. xlii — xlix, lxxxiv, lxxxv, lxxxvii, 
lxxxviii, including Ps. xliii), bearing a predominantly regal 
and priestly impress. Both the Psalms of the Ezrahites, Ps. 
lxxxviii by Heman and lxxxix by Ethan, belong to the time of 
Solomon whose name, with the exception of Ps. lxxii, is borne 
only by Ps. cxxvii. Under Solomon psalm-poesy began to 
decline ; all the existing productions of the mind of that age 
bear the mark of thoughtful contemplation rather than of di- 
rect conception, for restless eagerness had yielded to enjoyable 
contentment, national concentration to cosmopolitan expan- 
sion. It was the age of the Chokma, which brought the apoph- 
thegm to its artistic perfection, and also produced a species 
of drama. Solomon himself is the perfecter of the Mashal, 
that form of poetic composition belonging strictly to the 
Chokma. Certainly according to 1 Kings v. 12 [Hebr.; iv. 
32, Engl.] he was also the author of 1005 songs, but in the 
canon we only find two Psalms by him and the dramatic Song 
of Songs. This may perhaps be explained by the fact that he 
spake of trees from the cedar to the hyssop , that his poems, 
mostly of a worldly character, pertained rather to the realm 
of nature than to the kingdom of grace. 

Only twice after this did psalm -poesy rise to any height 
and then only for a short period: viz. under Jehoshaphat and 
under Hezekiah. Under both these kings the glorious services 
of the Temple rose from the desecration and decay into 

Digitized by 



which they had fallen to the fall splendour of their ancient 
glory. Moreover there were two great and marvellous deliver- 
ances which aroused the spirit of poesy during the reigns of 
these kings: under Jehoshaphat, the overthrow of the neigh- 
bouring nations when they had banded together for the ex- 
stirpation of Judah, predicted by Jahaziel, the Asaphite; un- 
der Hezekiah the overthrow of Sennacherib's host foretold by 
Isaiah. These kings also rendered great service to the cause 
of social progress. Jehoshaphat by an institution designed 
to raise the educational status of the people, which reminds 
one of the Carlovingian missi (2 Chron. xvii. 7 — 9); Hezekiah, 
whom one may regard as the Pisistratus of Israelitish litera- 
ture, by the establishment of a commission charged with col- 
lecting the relics of the early literature (Prov. xxv. 1); ha 
also revived the ancient sacred music and restored the Psalms 
of David and Asaph to their liturgical use (2 Chron. xxix. 
25 sqq). And he was himself a poet, as his 2PDD (OfCD?) 
(Isa. xxxviii) shews, though certainly a reproductive rather 
than a creative poet. Both from the time of Jehoshaphat 
and from the time of Hezekiah we possess in the Psalter not 
a few Psalms, chiefly Asaphic and Korahitic, which, although 
bearing no historical heading, unmistakeably confront us with 
the peculiar circumstances of those times. * With the excep- 
tion of these two periods of revival the latter part of the re- 
gal period produced scarcely any psalm writers, but is all the 
more rich in prophets. When the lyric became mute, prophecy 
raised its trumpet voice in order to revive the religious life of 
the nation, which previously had expressed itself in psalms. In 
the writings of the prophets, which represent the XeT[i|xa x^p^o; 
in Israel, we do indeed find even psalms, as Jon. ch. ii, Isa. xii, 
Hab. iii, but these are more imitations of the ancient congre- 
gational hymns than original compositions. It was not until 
after the Exile that a time of new creations set in. 

As the Reformation gave birth to the German church- 
hymn, and the Thirty years' war, without which perhaps 
there might have been no Paul Gerhardt, called it into life 
afresh, so the Davidic age gave birth to psalm-poesy and the 

* With regard to the time of Jehoshaphat even Nic. Nonne has ao 
knowledged this in his Diss, de Tzippor et Deror (Bremen 1741, 4to.) which 
has reference to Ps. lxiiiv. 4. 

Digitized by 



Exile brought back to life again that which had become dead. 
The divine chastisement did not fail to produce the effect de- 
signed. Even though it should not admit of proof, that many 
of the Psalms have had portions added to them, from which 
it would be manifest how constantly they were then used as 
forms of supplication, still it is placed beyond all doubt, that the 
Psalter contains many psalms belonging to the time of the 
Exile, as e. g. Ps. cii. Still far more new psalms were com- 
posed after the Return. When those who returned from exile, 
among whom were many Asaphites, * again felt themselves 
to be a nation, and after the restoration of the Temple to be 
also a church, the harps which in Babylon hung upon the 
willows, were tuned afresh and a rich new flow of song was 
the fruit of this re-awakened first love. But this did not con- 
tinue long. A sanctity founded on good works and the service 
of the letter took the place of that outward, coarse idolatry 
from which the people, now returned to their fatherland, had 
been weaned while undergoing punishment in the land of the 
stranger. Nevertheless in the era of the Seleucidse the op- 
pressed and injured national feeling revived under the Macca- 
bees in its old life and vigour. Prophecy had then long been 
dumb, a fact lamented in many passages in the 1st Book of 
the Maccabees. It cannot be maintained that psalm -poesy 
flourished again at that time. Hitzig has recently endea- 
voured to bring forward positive proof, that it is Maccabean 
psalms, which form the proper groundwork of the Psalter. 
He regards the Maccabean prince Alexander Jannaeus as the 
writer of Ps. i and ii, refers Ps. xliv. to 1 Mace. v. 56 — 62, 
and maintains both in his Commentary of 1835 — 36 and in the 
later edition of 1863 — 65 that from Ps.lxxiii onwards there is 
not a single pre-Maccabean psalm in the collection and that, 
from that point, the Psalter mirrors the prominent events of 
the time of the Maccabees in chronological order. Hitzig has 
been followed by von Lengerke and Olshausen. They both 
mark the reign of John Hyrcanus (B. C. 135 — 107) as the time 
when the latest psalms were composed and when the collec- 

* In Barhebraus on Job and in his Chronikon several traditions are 
referred to "Asaph the Hebrew priest, the brother of Eira the writer of 
the Scriptures." 

Digitized by 



tion as we now have it was made: whereas Hitzig going some- 
what deeper ascribes with others, and the arrange- 
ment of the whole, to Hyrcanus' son, Alexander Jannaeus. 

On the other hand both the existence and possibility of 
Maccabean psalms is disputed not only by Hengstenberg, Ha- 
vernick, and Keil but also by Gesenius, Hassler, Ewald, The- 
nius, Bottcher, and Dillmann. For our own part we admit 
the possibility. It has been said that the ardent enthusiasm 
of the Maccabean period was more human than divine, more 
nationally patriotic than theocratically national in its charac- 
ter, but the Book of Daniel exhibits to us, in a prophetic re- 
presentation of that period, a holy people of the Most High 
contending with the god-opposing power in the world, and 
claims for this contest the highest significance in relation to 
the history of redemption. The history of the canon, also, 
does not exclude the possibility of there being Maccabean 
psalms. For although the chronicler by 1 Chron. xvi. 36 brings 
as to the safe conclusion that in his day the Psalter (comp. 
ta xou AautB, 2 Mace. ii. 13*) was already a whole divided 
into five books (vid. on Ps. xcvi. cv. cvi) : it might nevertheless, 
after having been completely arranged still remain open for la- 
ter insertions (just as the ItthT] 1QD cited in the Book of Joshua 
and 2 Sam. i., was an anthology which had grown together 
in the course of time). When Judas Maccabseus, by gathering 
together the national literature, followed in the footsteps of 
Nehemiah (2 Mace. ii. 14: cboautco; 8£ xal'IouSac xa Steoxopitio- 
j*2va 8i4 xov ir^Xejiov xiv YSY 0V ^ xa ^JI" v £*wov^1f a 1f e «£vxa, xai 
eoxi nap' j)|uv), we might perhaps suppose that the Psalter 
was at that time enriched by some additions. And when Jew- 
ish tradition assigns to the so-called Great Synagogue (nDJO 
r6nan) a share in the compilation of the canon, this is not 
unfavourable to the supposition of Maccabean psalms, since 
this ooveqen-p) pe^dX?) was still in existence under the domina- 
tion of the Seleucidae (1 Mace. xiv. 28). 

It is utterly at variance with historical fact to maintain 
that the Maccabean period was altogether incapable of pro- 
ducing psalms worthy of incorporation in the canon. Al- 

* In the early phraseology of the Eastern and Western churches the 
Psalter is simply called David, e.g. in Chrysostom: expaOivxtc 8Xov xiv 
Aa£(S, and at the close of the ^Sthiopic Psalter : "David is ended". 

Digitized by 



though the Maccabean period had no prophets, it is never- 
theless to be supposed that many possessed the gift of poesy, 
and that the Spirit of faith, which is essentially one and the 
same with the Spirit of prophecy, might sanctify this gift 
and cause it to hear fruit. An actual proof of this is furnished 
by the so-called Psalter of Solomon (VaXiTjptov SaXopamoc 
in distinction from the canonical Psalter of David)* consisting 
of 18 psalms, which certainly come far behind the originality 
and artistic beauty of the canonical Psalms; but they shew 
at the same time, that the feelings of believers, even through- 
out the whole time of the Maccabees, found utterance in ex- 
pressive spiritual songs. Maccabean psalms are therefore not 
an absolute impossibility — no doubt they were many; and 
that some of them were incorporated in the Psalter, cannot 
be denied a priori. But still the history of the canon does 
not favour this supposition. And the circumstance of the 
LXX version of the Psalms (according to which citations are 
made even in the first Book of the Maccabees), inscribing se- 
veral Psalms 'A^Yatoo xal Za^aptoo, while however it does not 
assign the date of the later period to any, is against it. And 
if Maccabean psalms be supposed to exist in the Psalter they 
can at any rate only be few, because they must have been in- 
serted in a collection which was already arranged. And since 
the Maccabean movement, though beginning with lofty aspira- 
tions, gravitated, in its onward course, towards things carnal, 
we can no longer expect to find psalms relating to it, or 
at least none belonging to the period after Judas Maccabseus; 
and from all that we know of the character and disposition 
of Alexander Jannseus it is morally impossible that this des- 
pot should be the author of the first and second Psalms and 
should have closed the collection. 

The Psalter, as we now have it, consists of five books.** 
Toot6 oe j*ij rcapeXOoi, a> 91X6X076 — says Hippolytus, whose 

* First made known by De la Cerda in his Adversaria sacra (1626) 
and afterwards incorporated by Fabricius in his Codex Pseudepigraphus 
V. T. pp. 914 sqq. (1713). 

** The Karaite Jerocbam (abont 950 A. D.) says C\blD (rolls) instead 
of DnSD. 


Digitized by 



words are afterwards quoted by Epiphanius — in xal ti t}«xX« 
tijpiov e!« 7tivrs BieTXov fk[3Xta ot 'E^paioi, Sots slvai xal atki 
aXXov nevrdxeoxov. This accords with the Midrash on Ps. i. 1 : 
Moses gave the Israelites the five books of the Thora and cor- 
responding to these (0"UJ3) David gave them the book of Psalms 
which consists of five books (DnBD nte'Dn 13 Uftti D^DD ~IBD). 
The division of the Psalter into five parts makes it the copy 
and echo of the Thora, which it also resembles in this parti- 
cular: that as in the Thora Elohistic and Jehovistic sections 
alternate, so here a group of Elohistic Psalms (xlii — lxxxiv) 
is surrounded on both sides by groups of Jehovistic (i — xli, 
lxxxv — cl). The five books are as follow: — i — xli, xlii — 
lxxii, lxxiii — lxxxix, xc — cvi, cvii — cl.* Each of the first 
four books closes with a doxology, which one might erroneously 
regard as a part of the preceding Psalm (xli. 14, lxxii. 18 sq., 
lxxxix. 53, cvi. 48), and the place of the fifth doxology is 
occupied by Ps. cl. as a full toned finale to the whole (like 
the relation of Ps. cxxxiv to the so-called Songs of degrees). 
These doxologies very much resemble the language of the li- 
turgical Beracha of the second Temple. The jDNl jdk coupled 
with i (cf. on the contrary Num. v. 22 and also Neh. viii. 6) 
is exclusively peculiar to them in Old Testament writings. 
Even in the time of the writer of the Chronicles the Psalter 
was a whole divided into five parts, which were indicated by 
these landmarks. We infer this from 1 Chron. xvi. 36. The 
chronicler in the free manner which characterises Thucydides 
or Livy in reporting a speech, there reproduces David's festal 
hymn that resounded in Israel after the bringing home of the 
ark; and he does it in such a way that after he has once fall- 
en into the track of Ps. cvi. , be also puts into the mouth 
of David the beracha which follows that Ps. From this we 
see that the Psalter was already divided into books at that 
period; the closing doxologies had already become thoroughly 
grafted upon the body of the Psalms after which they stand. 
The chronicler however wrote under the pontificate of Joha- 
nan, the son of Eliashib, the predecessor of Jaddua, towards 
the end of the Persian supremacy, but a considerable time 
before the commencement of the Grecian. 

• The Karaite Jefeth ben Eli calls them nr'N 1BD, ?'M3 *D to. 

Digitized by 



Next to this application of the beracha of the Fourth boon 
by the chronicler, Ps. lxxii. 20 is a significant mark for de- 
termining the history of the origin of the Psalter. The words: 
"are ended the prayers of David the son of Jesse*, are without 
doubt the subscription to the oldest psalm -collection, which 
preceded the present psalm-pentateuch. The collector certainly 
has removed this subscription from its original place close after 
lxxii. 17, by the interpolation of the beracha lxxii. 18sq., but left 
it, at the same time, untouched. The collectors and those who 
worked up the older documents within the range of the Bibli- 
cal literature appear to have been extremely conscientious in 
this respect and they thereby make it easier for us to gain an in- 
sight into the origin of their works, — as, e. g. the composer of 
the Books of Samuel gives intact the list of officers from a later 
document 2Sam.viii.16 — 18(which closed with that, so far as we 
at present have it in its incorporated state), as well as the list 
from an older document (2 Sam.xx.23 — 26); or, as not merely 
the author of the Book of Kings in the middle of the Exile, but 
also the chronicler towards the end of the Persian period, have 
transferred unaltered, to their pages, the statement that the 
staves of the ark are to be found in the rings of the ark "to this 
day", which has its origin in some annalistic document (1 Bangs 
viii. 8, 2 Chron. v. 9). But unfortunately that subscription, 
which has been so faithfully preserved, furnishes us less help 
than we could wish. We only gather from it that the present 
collection was preceded by a primary collection of very much 
more limited compass which formed its basis and that this 
closed with the Salomonic Ps. lxxii; for the collector would 
surely not have placed the subscription, referring only to the 
prayers of David, after this Psalm if he had not found it there 
already. And from this point it becomes natural to suppose 
that Solomon himself, prompted perhaps by the liturgical re- 
quirements of the new Temple, compiled this primary col- 
lection, and by the addition of Ps. lxxii may have caused it to 
be understood that he was the originator of the collection. 

But to the question whether the primary collection also 
contained only Davidic songs properly so called or whether 
the subscribed designation "m n^TID is only intended a po~ 
tiori, the answer is entirely wanting. If we adopt the latter 
supposition, one is at a loss to understand for what reason 

Digitized by 



only Ps. 1. of the Psalms of Asaph was inserted in it. For 
this psalm is really one of the old Asaphic psalms and might 
therefore have been an integral part of the primary collection. 
On the other hand it is altogether impossible for all the Ko- 
rahitic psalms xlii — xlix to have belonged to it, for some of 
them, and most undoubtedly xlvii and xlviii were composed 
in the time of Jehoshaphat, the most remarkable event of which, 
as the chronicler narrates, was foretold by an Asaphite and 
celebrated by Korahitic singers. It is therefore, apart from 
other psalms which bring us down to the Assyrian period (as 
lxvi, lxvii) and the time of Jeremiah (as lxxi) and bear in 
themselves traces of the time of the Exile (as lxix, 35 sqq.), 
absolutely impossible that the primary collection should have 
consisted of Ps. ii — lxxii, or rather (since Ps. ii appears as 
though it ought to be assigned to the later time of the kings, 
perhaps the time of Isaiah) of Ps. iii — lxxii. And if we leave 
the later insertions out of consideration, there is no arrange- 
ment left for the Psalms of David and his cotemporaries, 
which should in any way bear the impress of the Davidic and 
Salomonic mind. Even the old Jewish teachers were struck by 
this, and in the Midrash on Ps. iii we are told, that when Joshua 
ben Levi was endeavouring to put the order, a voice from 
heaven cried out to him: arouse not the slumberer (TPErr^N 
pe'TTPN) i. e. do not disturb David in his gravel Why Ps. iii 
follows directly upon Ps.ii, or as it is expressed in the Midrash 
D"6b£n n»hS follows auoi jij ntsh&, may certainly be more 
satisfactorily explained than is done there: but to speak gener- 
ally the mode of the arrangement of the first two books of the 
Psalms is of a similar nature to that of the last three, viz., that 
which in my Symbolce ad Psalmos illustrandos isagogicce (1846) 
is shewn to run through the entire Psalter, more according to 
external than internal points of contact. * 

* Tbe right view has been long since perceived by Eusebius, who in 
his exposition of Ps. lxiii (LXX. lxii), among other things expresses him- 
self thus : 4-jdj Si T)7o0|xai xfj; tdiv £f f SYpaiijjivaiv Stavotaj ivixti iftlf t i 
iXXijXoov tout daXpioyj xeiaQat xaxd to -Xsistov, oDto>« £v -oXXoij £i:t-r- 
yfpii xal euptov, 4i6 xal oovijtpQai o-jtoOs waavtl aufjfvstav £-/ovta; xat 
dxoXo'j4(av zpo« dXXijXo'j;' fvQsv jat?J xatd toi? ^povo'Jt i|A<pips30ai, dXXd 
xatok rift xffi oiavoia; dxoXo-jQtav (in Montfaacon's Collectio Nova, t. i. p. 
300). This dxoXovOia Siavofec is however not always central and deep. 
The attempts of Luther (Walch, iv. col. 646 sqq.) and especially of So- 

vol. I. 2 

Digitized by 



On the other side it cannot he denied that the ground* 
work of the collection that formed the basis of the present 
Psalter must lie within the limits of Ps. iii — lxxii, for nowhere 
else do old Davidic psalms stand so closely and numerously 
together as here. The Third hook (Ps. lxxiii — lxxxix) exhibits 
a marked difference in this respect. We may therefore sup- 
pose that the chief bulk of the oldest hymn book of the Is- 
raelitish church is contained in Ps. iii — lxxii. But we must 
at the same time admit, that its contents have been dispersed 
and newly arranged in later redactions and more especially 
in the last of all; and yet, amidst these changes the connec- 
tion of the subscription, lxxii. 20, with the psalm of Solomon 
was preserved. The two groups iii — lxxii, lxxiii — lxxxix, 
although not preserved in the original arrangement, and aug- 
mented by several kinds of interpolations, at least represent 
the first two stages of the growth of the Psalter. The pri- 
mary collection may be Salomonic. The after portion of the 
second group was, at the earliest, added in the time of Je- 
hoshaphat, at which time probably the book of the Proverbs 
.>f Solomon was also compiled. But with a greater proba- 
bility of being in the right we incline to assign them to the 
time of Hezekiah, not merely because some of the psalms 
among them seem as though they ought to be referred to the 
overthrow of Assyria under Hezekiah rather than to the over- 
throw of the allied neighbouring nations under Jehoshaphat, 
but chiefly because just in the same manner "the men of He- 
zekiah" appended an after gleaning to the older Salomonic 
book of Proverbs (Prov. xxv. 1), and because of Hezekiah it is 
recorded, that he brought the Psalms of David and of Asaph 
(the bulk of which are contained in the Third book of the 
Psalms) into use again (2 Chron. xxix. 30). In the time of 
Ezra and Nehemiah the collection was next extended by the 
songs composed during and (which are still more numerous) 
after the Exile. But a gleaning of old songs also had been 
reserved for this time. A psalm of Moses was placed first, 
in order to give a pleasing relief to the beginning of the new 
psalter by this glance back into the earliest time. And to 
the 56 Davidic psalms of the first three books, there are 

lomon Gesner, to prove a link of internal progress in the Psalter are not 


Digitized by 



seventeen more added here in the last two. They are cer- 
tainly not all directly Davidic, hut partly the result of tho 
writer throwing himself into David's temper of mind and cir- 
cumstances. One chief store of such older psalms were per- 
haps the historical works of an annalistic or even prophetic 
character, rescued from the age before the Exile. It is from 
euch sources that the historical notes prefixed to the Davidic 
hymns (and also to one in the Fifth hook: Ps. cxlii) come. 
On the whole there is unmistakeably an advance from the 
earliest to the latest; and we may say, with Ewald, that in 
Ps. i — xli the real bulk of the Davidic and, in general, of the 
older songs is contained, in Ps. xlii — Ixxxix predominantly 
songs of the middle period, in Ps. xc — cl the large mass of 
later and very late songs. But moreover it is with the Psalm- 
collection as with the collection of the prophecies of Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, and Ezekiel: the chronological order and the ar- 
rangement according to the matter are at variance; and in 
many places the former is intentionally and significantly dis- 
regarded in favour of the latter. We have often already re- 
ferred to one chief point of view of this arrangement accord- 
ing to matter, viz., the imitation of the Thora; it was perhaps 
this which led to the opening of the Fourth book, which cor- 
responds to the Book of Numbers, with a psalm of Moses of 
this character. 


Among the Fathers, Gregory of Nyssa has attempted to 
shew that the Psalter in its five hooks leads upward as by 
five steps to moral perfection, del irp&« xb 6^T)X6-cepov djv <|*o- 
j(V uTteptiGsic, <i>; Sv em xb dxp6xaxov ecptxrjtai t<3v <jqa9div;* 
and down to the most recent times attempts have been made 
to trace in the five books a gradation of principal thoughts, 
which influence and run through the whole collection.** We 
fear that in this direction, investigation has set before itself on 
unattainable end. Nevertheless, as we shall see, the collection 
bears the impress of one ordering mind. For its opening is 

• Opp. ed. Paris. (1 036) t. i. p. 28S. 

*• Tbns especially Stuhelin, Zur Einleilung in die Psalmcn, 1859, 4to. 


Digitized by 



formed by a didactic -prophetic couplet of psalms (Ps. i. ii), 
introductory to the whole Psalter and therefore in the ear- 
liest times regarded as one psalm, which opens and closes 
with ntftt; and its close is formed by four psalms (Ps. cxlvi 
— cxlix) which begin and end with rm^n. We do not in- 
clude Ps. cl. for this psalm takes the place of the beracha 
of the Fifth book, exactly as the recurring verse Isa. xlviii. 22 
is repeated in lvii. 21 with fuller emphasis, but is omitted at 
the close of the third part of this address of Isaiah to the 
exiles, its place being occupied by a terrifying description of 
the hopeless end of the wicked. The opening of the Psalter 
celebrates the blessedness of those who walk according to the 
will of God in redemption, which has been revealed in the 
law and in history; the close of the Psalter calls upon all 
creatures to praise this God of redemption, as it were on the 
ground of the completion of this great work. Bede has al- 
ready called attention to the fact that the Psalter from Ps. 
cxlvi ends in a complete strain of praise; the end of the Psal- 
ter soars upward to a happy climax. The assumption that 
there was an evident predilection for attempting to make the 
number 150 complete, as Ewald supposes, cannot be esta- 
blished; the reckoning 147 (according to a Haggadah book 
mentioned in Jer. Sabbath xvi, parallel with the years of Jacob's 
life), and the reckoning 149, which frequently occurs both in 
Karaitic and Rabbinic MSS., have also been adopted; the 
numbering of the whole and of particular psalms varies.* 

There are in the Psalter 73 psalms bearing the inscription 
Tnb, viz. (reckoning exactly) 37 in book i; 18 in book ii; 1 in book 
iii; 2 in book iv; 15 in book v. The redaction has designed the 
pleasing effect of closing the collectionwith an imposing group of 
Davidic psalms, just as it begins with the bulk of the Davidic 
psalms. And the Hallelujahs which begin with Ps. cxlvi (after 
the 15 Davidic psalms) are the preludes of the closing doxology. 

* The LXX, like oar Hebrew text, reckons 150 psalms, but with va- 
riations in separate instances, by making ix and x, and cxiv and cxv 
into one, and in place of these, dividing cxvi and cxlvii each into two. 'Hie 
combination of ix and x, of cxiv and cxv into one has also been adopted by 
others; cxniv and exxxv, bat especially i and ii, appear here and thero 
as one psalm. Kimchi reckons 149 by making Ps. cxiv and cxv into 
one. The ancient Syriac version combines Ps. cxiv and cxv as one, but 
reckons 150 hy dividing P^ cxlvii. 

Digitized by 



The Korahitic and Asaphic psalms are found exclusively 
in the Second and Third books. There are 12 Asaphic psalms: 
1. lxxiii — lxxxiii, and also 12 Korahitic: xlii. xliii. xliv — xlix. 
lxxxiv. lxxxv. lxxxvii. lxxxviii, assuming that Ps. xliii is to be 
regarded as an independent twin psalm to xlii and that Ps. 
lxxxviii is to be reckoned among the Korahitic psalms. In 
both of these divisions we find psalms belonging to the time 
of the Exile and to the time after the Exile (lxxiv. lxxix. lxxxv). 
The fact of their being found exclusively in the Second and 
Third books cannot therefore be explained on purely chrono- 
logical grounds. Korahitic psalms, followed by anAsaphic,open 
the Second book; Asaphic psalms, followed by four Korahitic, 
open the Third book. 

The way in which Davidic psalms are interspersed clearly 
sets before us the principle by which the arrangement accord- 
ing to the matter, which the collector has chosen, is gov- 
erned. It is the principle of homogeneousness, which is the old 
Semitic mode of arranging things: for in the alphabet, the 
hand and the hollow of the hand, water and fish, the eye and 
the mouth, the back and front of the head have been placed 
together. In like manner also the psalms follow one another 
according to their relationship as manifested by prominent 
external and internal marks. The Asaphic psalm, Ps. 1, is 
followed by the Davidic psalm, li., because they both simi- 
larly disparage the material animal sacrifice, as compared 
with that which is personal and spiritual. And the Davidic 
psalm lxxxvi is inserted between the Korahitic psalms lxxxv 
and lxxxvii, because it is related both to Ps. lxxxv. 8 by the 
prayer: u Shen> me Thy may, Jahve 9 and "■give Thy conquer- 
ing strength unto Thy servant 11 , and to Ps. lxxxvii by the 
prospect of the conversion of the heathen to the God of Is- 
rael. This phenomenon, (hat psalms with similar prominent 
thoughts, or even with only markedly similar passages, espe- 
cially at the beginning and the end, are thus strung together, 
may be observed throughout the whole collection. Thus e. g. 
Ps. lvi with the inscription, " '•after (the melody): the mute 
dove among strangers", is placed after Ps. lv on account of 
the occurrence of the words: u 0h that I had wings like a dove! 9 
&c, in that psalm; thus Ps. xxxiv and xxxv stand together 
as being the only psalms in which "the Angel of Jahve" oc- 

Digitized by 



curs; and just so Ps. ix and x which coincide in the expres- 
sion mas rony. 

Closely connected with this principle of arrangement is 
the circumstance that the Elohimic psalms (t. e., those which, 
according to a peculiar style of composition as I have shewn 
in my Symbolce, not from the caprice of an editor, * almost 
exclusively call God crfctt, and heside this make use of such 
compound names of God as rites mm, mtCS OVi^N mm and 
the like) are placed together without any intermixture of Je- 
hovic psalms. In Ps. i — xli the divine name mm predomin- 
ates; it occurs 272 times and crhtt only 15 times, and for 
the most part under circumstances where mm was not ad- 
missible. With Ps. xlii the Elohimic style begins; the last 
psalm of this kind is the Korahitic psalm lxxxiv, which for 
this very reason is placed after the Elohimic psalms of Asaph. 
In the Ps. lxxxv — cl mm again becomes prominent, with 
such exclusiveness, that in the psalms of the Fourth and Fifth 
books mm occurs 339 times (not 239 as in Symbolce p. 5), and 
cn^N of the true God only once (cxliv. 9). Among the psalms 
of David 18 are Elohimic, among the Korahitic 9, and the Asa- 
phicare all Elohimic. Including one psalm of Solomon and four 
anonymous psalms, there are 44 in all (reckoning Ps. xlii and 
xliii as two). They form the middle portion of the Psalter, 
and have on their right 41 and on their left 65 Jahve-psalms. 

Community in species of composition also belongs to the 
manifold grounds on which the order according to the sub- 
ject-matter is determined. Thus the b^tt'D (xlii — xliii. xliv. 
xlv.lii — lv) and CPro (lvi — lx) stand together among theElo- 
him-psalms. In like manner we have in the last two books the 
TttbSBn -^(exx — exxxiv) and, divided into groups, those begin- 
ning with nin (cv — cvii) and those beginning and ending with 
m.l^n (cxi — cxvii, cxlvi — cl) — whence it follows that these 
titles to the psalms are older than the final redaction of the 

It could not possibly be otherwise than that the inscrip- 
tions of the psalms, after the harmless position which the mono- 

* This is Ewald's view (which is also supported by Riehm in Stud, 
u. Kri: 1857 S. 1C5). A closer insight into the characteristic peculiarity 
of the Elohim-psalms, which is manifest in other respects also, prove* 
it to be superficial and erroneous. 

Digitized by 



graphs of Sonntag (1687), Celsius (1718), Irhof (1728) take 
with regard to them, should at length become a subject for 
criticism; but the custom which has gained ground since the 
last decade of the past century of rejecting what has been 
historically handed down, has at present grown into a despi- 
cable habit of forming a decision too hastily, which in any 
other department of literature where the judgment is not so 
prejudiced by the drift of the enquiry, would be regarded as 
folly. Instances like Hab. iii. 1 and 2 Sam. i. 18, comp. Ps. lx. 
l,shew that David and other psalm- writers might have appen- 
ded their names to their psalms and the definition of their pur- 
port. And the great antiquity of these and similar inscriptions 
also follows from the fact that the LXX found them already in 
existence and did not understand them; that they also cannot 
be explained from the Books of the Chronicles (including the 
Book of Ezra, which belongs to these) in which much is said 
about music, and appear in these books, like much besides, 
as an old treasure of the language revived, so that the key to 
the understanding of them must have been lost very early, as 
also appears from the fact that in the last two books of the 
Psalter they are of more rare, and in the first three of more 
frequent occurrence. 


The early Hebrew poetry has neither rhyme nor metre, 
both of which (first rhyme and then afterwards metre) were 
first adopted by Jewish poesy in the seventh century after 
Christ. True, attempts at rhyme are not wanting in the poe- 
try and prophecy of the Old Testament, especially in the te- 
phitta style, Ps. cvi. 4 — 7 cf. Jer. iii. 21 — 25, where the ear- 
nestness of the prayer naturally causes the heaping up of 
similar flexional endings; but this assonance, in the transition 
state towards rhyme proper, had not yet assumed such an 
established form as is found in Syriac* It is also just as 
difficult to point out verses of four lines only, which have a 
uniform or mixed metre running through them. Notwith- 
standing, Augustine, Ep. cxiii ad Memorium, is perfectly war- 
ranted in saying of the Psalms: certis eos cotutare numeris 

• Vid. Zingerlo in the Dculsch. Morgenland. Zeitschri/X. X. 110 ff. 

Digitized by VjOOQK 


credo illis qui earn linguam prole callenl, and it is not a mere 
fancy when Philo, Josephus, Eusebius, Jerome and others have 
detected in the Old Testament songs, and especially in the 
Psalms, something resembling the Greek and Latin metres. 
For the Hebrew poetry indeed had a certain syllabic mea- 
sure, since, — apart from the audible Shebd and the Chateph. 
both of which represent the primitive shortenings, — all syl- 
lables with a full vowel are intermediate, and in ascending be- 
come long, in descending short, or in other words, in one 
position are strongly accented, in another more or less slur- 
red over. Hence the most manifold rhythms arise, e. g. the 
anapaestic tvenashlicha mimdnnu abothemo (ii. 3) or the dactylic 
az jedabber elemo beappo (ii. 5). The poetic discourse is freer 
in its movement than the Syriac poetry with its constant as- 
cending (_ 1) or descending spondees (1 _); it represents 
all kinds of syllabic movements and thus obtains the appear- 
ance of a lively mixture of the Greek and Latin metres. But 
it is only an appearance — for the forms of verse, which con- 
form to the laws of quantity, are altogether foreign to early 
Hebrew poetry, as also to the oldest poetry; and these rhythms 
which vary according to the emotions are not metres, for, as 
Augustine says in his work Be Musica, "Omnemetrumrhythmus, 
non omnis rhythmus etiam metrutn est. 11 Yet there is not a single 
instance of a definite rhythm running through the whole in a 
shorter or longer poem, but the rhythms always vary accord- 
ing to the thoughts and feelings; as e. g. the evening song 
Ps. iv towards the end rises to the anapaestic measure: ki- 
atta Jahawe" lebadad, in order then quietly to subside in the 
iambic: labetach toshibeni.* With this alternation of rise and 

* Bellermann's Versuch fiber die Melrik der Bebrdcr (1813) is com- 
paratively the best on this subject even down to the present time; for 
Saalschllt* (Von der Form dcr hebr. Poesie, 1825, and elsewhere) proceeds 
on tho erroneous assumption that the present system of accentuation 
does not indicate the actual strong toned syllable of the words — by 
following the pronunciation of the German and Polish Jews he perceives, 
almost throughout, a spondaso-dactylic rhythm (e. g. Judg. xiv. 18 lillc 
chardshlem beeglulhi). But tho traditional accentuation is proved to be 
a faithful continuation of the ancient proper pronunciation of the He- 
brew; the trochaic pronunciation is more Syrian, and the tendency to 
draw the accent from the final syllable to the penult, regardless of tho 
eom'itioas originally governing it, is a phenomenon which belongs only 


Digitized by 



fall, long and short syllables, harmonizing in lively passages 
with the subject, there is combined, in Hebrew poetry, an ex- 
pressiveness of accent which is hardly to be found anywhere 
else to such an extent. Thus e. g. Ps. ii. 5a sounds like peal- 
ing thunder, and bb corresponds to it as the flashing lightning. 
And there are a number of dull toned Psalms as xvii. xlix. 
lviii. lix. lxxiii, in which the description drags heavily on and 
is hard to be understood, and in which more particularly the 
suffixes in mo are heaped up, because the indignant mood 
of the writer impresses itself upon the style and makes itself 
heard in the very sound of the words. The non plus ultra of 
such poetry, whose very tones heighten the expression, is the 
cycle of the prophecies of Jeremiah chap, xxiv — xxvii. 

Under the point of view of rhythm the so-called paralle- 
lismus membrorum has also been rightly placed: that funda- 
mental law of the higher, especially poetic, style for which 
this appropriate name has been coined, not very long since. * 
The relation of the two parallel members does not really differ 
from that of the two halves on either side of the principal 
caesura of the hexameter and pentameter; and this is parti- 
cularly manifest in the double long line of the caesural schema 
(more correctly: the diseretic schema) e. g. Ps. xlviii. 6, 7: 
They beheld, straightway they marvelled, \ bewildered they took 
to flight. Trembling took hold upon them there \ anguish, as a 
woman in travail. Here the one thought is expanded in the same 
verse in two parallel members. But from the fact of the 
rhythmical organization being carried out without reference 
to the logical requirements of the sentence, as in the same 
psalm vers. 4, 8: Elohim in her palaces \ was known as a refuge. 
With an east wind Thou breakest | the ships of Tarshish, we 

to the later period of the language (vid. Hupfeld in the Deutsch. Morgcnl 
Zeiltchr. vi. 18"). 

* Abenezra calls it ^92 duplication, and Eimchi rVJltfn'VpS JJJJ> ^32, 
duplicatio senlenti/r verbis variatis; both regard it as an elegant form of 
expression (ninil "P"V. Even the punctuation docs not proceed from a 
real understanding of the rhythmical relation of the members of the verse 
to one another, and when it divides every verse that is marked off by Si/tuk 
wherever it is possible into two parts, it must not be inferred that this 
rhythmical relation is actually always one consisting of two members merely, 
although (as Hupfeld has shewn in his admirable treatise on the two- 
fold law of the rhythm and accent, in the D. M. Z. 1852), wherever it 
exists it always consists of at least two members. 

Digitized by G00gle>" 


see that the rhythm is not called into existence as a necessity 
of such expansion of the thought, hut vice versd this mode of 
expanding the thought results from the requirements of the 
rhythm. Here is neither synonymous or identical (tauto- 
logical), nor antithetical, nor synthetical parallelism, but 
merely that which De Wette calls rhythmical, merely the rhyth- 
mical rise and fall, the diastole and systole, which poetry is 
otherwise (without binding itself) wont to accomplish by two 
different kinds of ascending and descending logical organi- 
zation. The ascending and descending rhythm does not 
usually exist within the compass of one line, but it is distri- 
buted over two lines which bear the relation to one another 
of rhythmical antecedent and consequent, of itpou>86; and 
iit(p56;. This distich is the simplest ground-form of the strophe, 
which is visible in the earliest song, handed down to us, 
Gen. iv. 23 sq. The whole Ps. cxix is composed in such 
distichs, which is the usual form of the apophthegm; the 
acrostic letter stands there at the head of each distich, just 
as at the head of each line in the likewise distichic pair, 
Ps. cxi, cxii. The tristich is an outgrowth from the distich, 
the ascending rhythm being prolonged through two lines and 
the fall commencing only in the third, e. g. xxv. 7 (the n of 
this alphabetical Psalm): 
ijavc not the sins of my youth and my transgressions in remembrance, 
According to Thy mercy remember Thou me 
For Thy goodness' sake, Jahve! 
This at least is the natural origin of the tristich, which more- 
over in connection with a most varied logical organization still 
has the inalienable peculiarity, that the full fall is reserved 
until the third line, e. g. in the first two strophes of the 
Lamentations of Jeremiah, where each line is a long line in 
two parts consisting of rise and fall, the principal fall, how- 
ever, after the caesura of the third long line, closes the strophe : 
2lh! how doth the city sit solitary, otherwise full of people! 
She is become as a widow, the great one among nations, 

The princess among provinces, she is become tributary. 

0y night she weepeth sore and her tears are upon her cheeks; 

There is not one to comfort her of all her lovers, 
All her friends hare betrayed her, they are become her enemies. 
If we now further enquire, whether Hebrew poesy goes beyond 
these simplest beginnings of the strophe-formation and even 


Digitized by 



extends the network of the rhythmical period, by combining 
the two and three line strophe with ascending and descending 
rhythm into greater strophic wholes rounded off into them- 
selves, the alphabetical Psalm xxxvii furnishes us with a 
safe answer to the question, for this is almost entirely tetra- 
stichic, e. g. 

3bout evil-doers fret not thyself, 

2lbout the workers of iniquity be thoa not envious. 

For as grass they shall soon be cut down, 

And as the green herb they shall wither, 

but it admits of the compass of the strophe increasing even 
to the pentastich, (ver. 25, 26) since the unmistakeable land- 
marks of the order, the letters, allow a freer movement: 

How I, who once was yonng, am become old, 
Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken 
And his seed begging bread. 
He ever giveth and lendeth 
And his soed is blessed. 

From this point the sure guidance of the alphabetical 
Psalms * fails us in investigating the Hebrew strophe-system. 
But in our further confirmatory investigations we will take 
with us from these Psalms, the important conclusion that the 
verse bounded by Sdphpasuk, the placing of which harmonizes 
with the accentuation first mentioned in the post-Talmudic 
tractate Sofrim, ** is by no means (as, since Koster, 1831, it 
has been almost universally supposed) the original form of 
the strophe but that strophes are a whole consisting of an 
equal or symmetrical number of stichs.*** Hupfeld (Ps. iv. 

* Even the older critics now and then supposed that we were to 
make these Ps. the starting point of our enquiries. For instance, Ser- 
pilius says: "It may perhaps strike some one whether an opinion as to 
some of the modes of the Davidie species of verse and poetry might 
not be formed from his, so-to-speak, alphabetical psalms/' 

** Even if, and this is what Hupfeld and Biehm (luth. Zeilschr. 1808^ 
S. 300) advance, the Old Testament books were divided into verses, 
D"plD9, even before the time of tho Masoretes, still the division into 
verses, as we now havo it and especially that of tho three poetical books, 
is Masoretic. 

••* It was those stichs, of which the Talmud (B. Kiddushin 30 a) counts 
eight more in the Psalter than in the Thora, vis. 5396, which were orig- 
inally called C'piDD. Also in Augustine we find versus thus used liko 
atf/oc. With him the words Populus ejus et oves pascuee ejus are one 
versus. There is no Hebrew MS. which could have formed tho basis of 

Digitized by 



450) has objected against this, that "this is diametrically 
opposed to the nature of rhythm = parallelism, which cannot 
stand on one leg, but needs two, that the distich is therefore 
the rhythmical unit." 

But does it therefore follow, that a strophe is to be 
measured according to the number of distichs? The distich 
is itself only the smallest strophe, viz. one consisting of 
two lines. And it is even forbidden to measure a greater 
strophe by the number of distichs, because the rhythmical 
unit, of which the distich is the ground-form, can just as well 
be tristichic, and consequently these so-called rhythmical units 
form neither according to time nor space parts of equal value. 
But this applies still less to the Masoretic verses. True, we 
have shewn in our larger Commentary on the Psalms, ii. 522 sq., 
in agreement with Hupfeld, and in opposition to Ewald, that the 
accentuation proceeds upon the law of dichotomy. But the Ma- 
soretic division of the verses is not only obliged sometimes to 
give up the law of dichotomy, because the verse (as e. g. xviii. 
2, xxv. 1, xcii. 9,) does not admit of being properly divided into 
two parts ; and it subjects not only verses of three members 
(as e. g.i.l, ii. 2) in which the third member is embellishingly or 
synthetically related to the other two — both are phenomena 
which in themselves furnish proof in favour of the relative in- 
dependence of the lines of the verse — but also verses of four 
members where the sense requires it (as i. 3, xviii. 16) and where 
it does not require it (as xxii. 15, xl. C), to the law of dicho- 
tomy. And these Masoretic verses of such various compass 

the arrangement of the Psalms in stichs; those which we possess only 
break the Masoretic verse, (if the space of the line admits of it) for ease 
of writing into the two halves, without even regarding the general 
injunction in c. xir of the tractate So/rim and that of Ben-Bileam in his 
Horajoth ha-Kore, that tho breaks are to be regulated by the beginnings 
of the versos and the two great pausal accents. Nowhere in the MSS., 
which divide and break up the words most capriciously, is there to be 
seen any trace of the recognition of those old D'plDD being preserved. 
These were not merely lines determined by the space, as were chiefly 
also the ottyot or fret) according to the number of which, the compass of 
Qreck works was recorded, but lines determined by the sense, xffiXa 
(Suidas: x&Xov & drcrjpTisjjivTjv Cvvotav lyatt otl/ot), as Jerome wrote his 
Latin translation of the Old Testament after the model of the Greek 
and Roman orators («. g. the MSS. of Demosthenes), per cola et commat* 
i. e. in lines breaking off according to the sense. 

Digitized by 



are to be the constituent parts according to which strophes 
of a like cipher shall be measured I A strophe only becomes 
a strophe by virtue of its symmetrical relation to others, to 
the ear it must have the same time, to the eye the same form 
and it must consequently represent the same number of lines 
(clauses). The fact of these clauses, according to the special 
characteristic of Hebrew poetry, moving on with that rising 
and falling movement which we call parallelism until they 
come to the close of the strophe where it gently falls to rest, is a 
thing sui generis, and, within the province of the strophe, some- 
what of a substitute for metre; but the strophe itself is a sec- 
tion which comes to thorough repose by this species of rhyth- 
mical movement. So far, then, from placing the rhythm on 
one leg only, we give it its two: but measure the strophe 
not by the two feet of the Masoretic verses or even couplets 
of verses, but by the equal, or symmetrically alternating num- 
ber of the members present, which consist mostly of two feet, 
often enough however of three, and sometimes even of four feet. 
Whether and how a psalm is laid out in strophes, is shewn 
by seeing first of all what its pauses are, where the flow of 
thoughts and feelings falls in order to rise anew, and then 
by trying whether these pauses have a like or symmetrically 
correspondent number of stichs (e. g. 6. 6. 6. 6 or 6. 7. 6. 7) 
or, if their compass is too great for them to be at once re- 
garded as one strophe, whether they cannot be divided into 
smaller wholes of an equal or symmetrical number of stichs. 
For the peculiarity of the Hebrew strophe does not consist 
in a run of definite metres closely united to form one har- 
monious whole (for instance, like the Sapphic strophe, which 
the four membered verses, Isa. xvi. 9, 10, with their short 
closing lines corresponding to the Adonic verse, strikingly 
resemble), but in a closed train of thought which is unrolled 
after the distichic and tristichic ground - form of the rhyth- 
mical period. The strophe-schemata, which are thus evolved, 
are very diverse. We find not only that all the strophes of 
a poem are of the same compass (e. g. 4. 4. 4. 4) , but also 
that the poem is made up of symmetrical relations formed 
of strophes of different compass. The condition laid down 
by some,* that only a poem that consists of strophes of equal 

* For instance Meier in his Geschichte der poetlschen lYationalfilcra- 

Digitized by 



length can be regarded as stropbic, is refuted not only by 
the Syriac* but also by the post -biblical Jewish poetry. ** 
We find the following variations : strophes of the same com- 
pass followed by those of different compass (e. g. 4. 4. 6. 6); 
as in the chiasmus, the outer and inner strophes of the same 
compass (e. g. 4. 6. 6. 4); the first and third, the second 
and fourth corresponding to one another (e. g. 4. 6. 4. 6); the 
mingling of the strophes repeated antistrophically, t*. e. in the 
inverted order (e. g. 4. 6. 7. 7. 6. 4); strophes of equal com- 
pass surrounding one of much greater compass (e. g. 4. 4. 
10. 4. 4.), what Koster calls the pyramidal schema; strophes 
of equal compass followed by a short closing stanza (e. g. 3. 
3. 2); a longer strophe forming the base of the whole (e.g. 5. 3. 
3. 7), and these are far from being all the different figures, 
which the Old Testament songs and more especially the Psalms 
present to us, when we arrange their contents in stichs. 

With regard to the compass of the strophe, we may 
expect to find it consisting of as many as twelve lines according 
to the Syrian and the synagogue poetry. The line usually con- 
sists of three words, or at least only of three larger words; 
in this respect the Hebrew exhibits a capacity for short but 
emphatic expressions, which are inadmissible in German [or 
English]. This measure is often most uniformly preserved 
throughout a considerable length, not only in the Psalms but 
also in the Book of Job. For there is far more reason for 
saying that the strophe lies at the basis of the arrangement 
of the Book of Job, than for 6. Hermann's observation of 
atrophic arrangement in the Bucolic writers and Kochly's in 
the older portions of Homer. 


The Thora contains no directions respecting the use of 
song and music in divine worship except the commands con- 
fur der Hebr&cr, S. H", who maintains that strophes of unequal length 
are opposed to the simplest laws of the lyric song and melody. But the 
demands which melody imposes on the formation of the verse and the 
strophe were not so stringent among the ancients as now, and moreovel 
— is not the sonnet a lyric poem ? 

• vid. Zingerle in the D. M. Z. x. 123, 12J. 

•* vid. Zunz, Synagogale Puesic des Mittclu Iters, S. 92 — 9-L 

Digitized by 



cerning the ritualistic use of silver trumpets to be blown by 
the priests (Numb. ch. x). David is really the creator of litur- 
gical music, and to his arrangements, as we see from the 
Chronicles, every thing was afterwards referred, and in times 
when it had fallen into disuse, restored. So long as David 
lived, the superintendence of the liturgical music was in his 
hands (1 Chron. xxv. 2). The instrument by means of which 
the three choir-masters (Heman, Asaph, and Ethan-Jeduthun) 
directed the choir was the cymbals (nvbso or C,l6s*) which 
served instead of wands for beating time; the harps (D^DJ) 
represented the soprano, and the bass (the male voice in 
opposition to the female) was represented by the citherns an 
octave lower (1 Chron. xv. 17 — 21), which, to infer from the 
word nsaS used there, were used at the practice of the pieces 
by the najb appointed. In a Psalm where r6o is appended (vid. 
on Ps. iii), the stringed instruments (which T\hg ]V2nix. 17 de- 
finitely expresses), and the instruments generally, are to join 
in** in such a way as to give intensity to that which is being 
sung. To these instruments, besides those mentioned in Ps. cl, 
2 Sam. vi. 5, belonged also the flute, the liturgical use of which 
(vid. on v. 1) in the time of the first as of the second Temple 
is undoubted: it formed the peculiar musical accompaniment 
of the hallel (vid. Ps. cxiii) and of the nightly torch -light 
festival on the semi-festival days of the Feast of Tabernacles 
(Succa 15 a). The trumpets (nllJ&n) were blown exclusively 
by the priests to whom no part was assigned in the singing 
(as probably also the horn lEla' lxxxi. 4, xcviii. 6, cl. 3), and 
according to 2 Chron. v. 12 sq. (where the number of the two 
Mosaic trumpets appears to be raised to 120) took their turn 
unisono with the singing and the music of the Levites. At 
the dedication of Solomon's Temple the Levites sing and play 
and the priests sound trumpets D"T0, 2 Chron. vii. 6, and at 

* Talraudic ?st ; Jl. The usual Lcvitic orchestra of the temple of Herod 
consisted of 2 Nabla players, 9 Cithern players and one who struck the 
Zclazal, viz. Ben-Ana (Erachin 10 a, &c; Tumid vii. 3), who also had the 
oversight of the duchan (Tosiphla to Shekalim ii). 

" Comp. Mattheson's "Erlauteries Sela/t" 1745: Selah is a word mark- 
ing a prelude, interlude, or after-piece with instruments, a sign indica- 
ting the places where the instruments play alone, in short a so-called 

Digitized by 



the inauguration of the purified Temple under Hezekiah the 
music of the Levites and priests sound in concert until all 
the burnt offerings are laid upon the altar fire, and then 
(probably as the wine is being poured on) began (without any 
further thought of the priests) the song of the Levites, 2 
Chron. xxix. 26 — 30. In the second Temple it was otherwise: 
the sounding of the trumpets by the priests and the Levitical 
song with its accompanying music alternated, they were not 
simultaneous. The congregation did not usually sing with 
the choir, but only uttered their Amen; nevertheless they 
joined in the Hallel and in some psalms after the first clause 
with its repetition, after the second with hallelujah (Maimo- 
nides, Hilchoth Megilla, 3). 1 Chron. xvi. 36 points to a similar 
arrangement in the time of the first Temple. Just so does 
Jer. xxxiii. 11 in reference to the "Give thanks unto the Lord, 
for He is good*. Antiphonal singing on the part of the con- 
gregation is also to be inferred from Ezra iii. 10 sq. The 
Psalter itself is moreover acquainted with an allotment of 
the niD/j?, comp. milK'D Ezra ii. 65 (whose treble was repre- 
sented by the Levite boys in the second Temple, vid. on xlvi 
1) in choral worship and speaks of a praising of God "in full 
choirs", xxvi. 12, lxviii. 27. And responsive singing is of 
ancient date in Israel: even Miriam with the women answered 
the men (prb Ex. xv. 21) in alternating song, and Nehemiah 
(ch. xii. 27 sqq.) at the dedication of the city walls placed the 
Levites in two great companies which are there called niir, 
in the midst of the procession moving towards the Temple. 
In the time of the second Temple each day of the week had 
its psalm. The psalm for Sunday was xxiv, for Monday xlviii, 
Tuesday lxxxii, Wednesday xciv, Thursday lxxxi, Friday 
xciii, the Sabbath xcii. This arrangement is at least as old 
as the time of the Ptolemies and the Seleucidse, for the sta- 
tements of the Talmud are supported by the inscriptions of 
Ps. xxiv, xlviii, xciv, xciii in the LXX, and as respects the 
connection of the daily psalms with the drink-offering, by 
Sir. 1. 14 — 16. The psalms for the days of the week were 
sung, to wit, at the time of the drink-offering ("Dj) which was 
joined with the morning Tamid* : two priests, who stood on 

• According to the maxim f^ ^ N ' N ^ - " 10 ' ! < i ,J *> "-™ one sing- 
eth except over the wine." 

Digitized by 



the right and left of the player upon the cymbal (Zelazal) 
by whom the signal was given, sounded the trumpets at the 
nine pauses (C'plB), into which it was divided when sung by 
the Levites, and the people bowed down and worshipped.* 
The Levites standing upon the suggestus (]yii), — i. e. upon 
a broad staircase consisting of a few steps, which led up from 
the court of the laity, to that of the priests, — who were both 
singers and musicians, and consequently played only on strin- 
ged instruments and instruments of percussion, not wind- 
instruments, were at least twelve in number, with 9 citherns, 
2 harps, and one cymbal: on certain days the flute was added 
to this number.** The usual suggestus on the steps at the side 
of the altar was changed for another only in a few cases; for 
it is noticed as something special that the singers had a dif- 
ferent position at the festival of water-drawing during the 
Feast of Tabernacles (vid. introduction to Ps. cxx — cxxxiv), 
and that the flute-players who accompanied the Hallel stood 
before the altar, roion *X>b (Erachin 10 a). The treble was taken 

* B. Roth ha-Shana, 31a. Tamid vii. 3, comp. the introduction to 
Ps. xxiv. zcii and xciv. 

** According to B. Erachin 10 a the following were the customary 
accompaniments of the daily service: 1) 21 trumpet blasts, to as many 
as 48 ; 2) 2 nablas, to 6 at most ; 2 flutes (P Wri), to 1 2 at most. Blowing the 
flute is called striking the flute, Wnn R271. On 12 days of the year the 
flute was played before the altar: on the 14th of Nisan at the slaying of the 
Passover (at which the Hallel was sung), on the 14th of Ijar at the slaying 
of the little Passover, on the 1st and 7th days of the Passover and on the 
eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles. The mouth-piece (312N according 
to the explanation of Maimonides) was not of metal but a reed (comp. Arab. 
anbub, the blade of the reed), because it sounds more melodious. And 
it was never more than one flute (HTP DDN , playing a solo), which con- 
tinued at the end of a strain and closed it, because this produces the 
finest close (p^H)- On the 12 days mentioned, the Hallel was sung with 
flute accompaniment. On other days, the Psalm appointed for the day was 
accompanied by nablas, cymbals and citherns. This passage of the treatise 
Erachin also tells who were the flute-players. On the flute-playing at the fest- 
ival of water-drawing, vid. my Getchichte der judischcn Poetic S. 195. In 
the Temple of Herod, according to Erachin 10 b, there was also an organ. 
This was howeyer not a water -organ (OOTil, hydraulis), but a wind- 
organ (nsniO) with a hundred different tones flDl 'J'D), whose thunder- 
like sound, according to Jerome {Opp. ed. Mart. v. 191), was heard ab Je- 
rusalem usque ad montem Olivcli et amp/ius, vid. Saalschfitz, Archiiol 
i. 281—284 

VOL. I 3 

Digitized by 



by the Levite youths, who stood below the tuggesUu at 
the feet of the Levites (vid. on Ps. xlvi). The daily j2*)pn Itft 
(i. e. the week-day psalm which concluded the morning sa- 
crifice) was sung in nine (or perhaps more correctly 3*) pau- 
ses, and the pauses were indicated by the trumpet-blasts of 
the priests {vid. on Ps. xxxviii. lxxxi. 4). Beside the seven 
Psalms which were sung week by week,. there were others ap- 
pointed for the services of the festivals and intervening days 
(vid. on Ps. lxxxi) , and in Biccurim 3, 4 we read that when 
a procession bearing the firstfruits accompanied by flute 
playing had reached the hill on which the Temple stood and 
the firstfruits had been brought up in baskets, at the entrance 
of the offerers into the Azara, Ps. xxx was struck up by the 
Levites. This singing was distinct from the mode of deliver- 
ing the Tefilla (vid. on Ps. xliv ad fin.) and the benediction of 
the priests (vid. on Ps. lxvii), both of which were unaccom- 
panied by music. Distinct also, as it seems, from the mode 
of delivering the ffallel, which was more as a recitative, than 
sung (Pesachim 64a, bhm DN W)j5). It was probably similar 
to the Arabic, which delights in shrieking, long-winded, tril- 
ling, and especially also nasal tones. For it is related of one 
of the chief singers that in order to multiply the tones, he 
placed his thumb in his mouth and his fore finger pom V3 
(between the hairs, t". e. according to Rashi: on the furrow 
of the upper lip against the partition of the nostrils), and thus 
(by forming mouth and nose into a trumpet) produced sounds, 
before the volume of which the priests started back in aston- 
ishment. ** This mode of psalm-singing in the Temple of He- 
rod was no longer the original mode, and if the present ac- 
centuation of the Psalms represents the fixed form of the 
Temple song, it nevertheless does not convey to us any im- 

* This is the view of Maimonides, who distributes the 9 trumpet- 
blasts by which the morning sacrifice, according to Sueea 536, was ac- 
companied, over the 3 passes of the song. The hymn Baaxtnu, Dent, ixxii, 
which is called O'Wl (TVtf par excellence, was sung at the Sabbath 
Musaph- sacrifice — each Sabbath a division of the hymn, which was 
divided into six parts — so that it began anew on every seventh Sabbath, 
wid. J. Megilla, sect, iii, ad fin. 

** vid. B. Joma 38 b and /. Shekalim v. 3, comp. Canticum Rabba on 
Canticles iii. <L 


Digitized by 



pression of that before the Exile. It does, however, neither 
the one nor the other. 

The accents are only musical, and indirectly interpunc- 
tional, signs for the chanting pronunciation of the synagogue. 
And moreover we no longer possess the key to the accents of 
the three metrical (t. e. consisting of symmetrical stichs and 
strophes) books as musical signs. For the so-called Sarka- 
tables (which give the value of the accents as notes, beginning 
with Zarka, Np~)l), e. g. at the end of the second edition of 
Nagelsbach's Gramm., relate only to the reading of the penta- 
tcuchal and prophetic pericope, — consequently to the system 
of prose accents. In the German synagogue there is no tra- 
dition concerning the value of the so-called metrical accents 
as notes, for the Psalms were not recited according to the 
accents; but for all the Psalms, there are only two different 
modes, at least in the German ritual, viz. 1) the customary one 
according to which verse after verse is recited by the leader 
and the congregation, as e. g. Ps. xcv— xcix. xxix. every 
Friday evening; and 2) that peculiar to Ps. cxix in which tho 
first seven verses of the eight are recited alternately by the 
leader and the congregation, but the eighth as a concluding 
verse is always closed by the congregation with a cadence. 
This psalmody does not always follow the accents. We can 
only by supposition approximately determine how the Psalms 
were to be recited according to them. For we still possess at 
least a few statements of Ben-Asher, Shemtob and Moses 
Provenzalo (in his grammatical didactic poem jionp DBte) con- 
cerning the intonation of single metrical accents. Pazer and 
ShalsMleth have a like intonation, which rises with a trill; 
though Shalshdleth is more prolonged, about a third longer 
than that of the prose books. Legarme (in form Mahpach or 
Azla followed by P$ik) has a clear high pitch, before Zinnor, 
however, a deeper and more broken tone; Rebia magnum a 
soft tone tending to repose. By Silluk the tone first rises and 
then diminishes. The tone -of Mercha is according to its name 
andante and sinking into the depths; the tone of Tarcha cor- 
responds to adagio. Further hints cannot be traced: though 
we may infer with respect to Ole tve-jored (Mercha mahpa- 
chatum) and Athnach, that their intonation ought to form a 
cadence, as that Rebia parvum and Zinnor (Zarka) had an 


Digitized by 



intonation harrying on to the following distinctive accent. Fur- 
ther, if we place Dechi (Tiphcha initiate) and Rebia geresha- 
tum beside the remaining six servi among the notes, we may 
indeed produce a sarka- table of the metrical accentuation, 
although we cannot guarantee its exact agreement with the 
original manner of singing. 

Following Gerbert (De musica sacra) and Martini (Storia 
delta musica), the view is at present very general that in the 
eight Gregorian tones together with the extra tone (tonus pe- 
regrinus)* used only for Ps. cxiii (= cxiv — cxv in the Hebrew 
numeration), we have a remnant of the ancient Temple song; 
and this in itself is by no means improbable in connection with 
the Jewish nationality of the primitive church and its gra- 
dual severance at the first from the Temple and synagogue. 
In the convents of Bethlehem, which St. Paula founded, psalms 
were sung at six hours of prayer from early morn till mid- 
night, and she herself was so well versed in Hebrew, ut Psal~ 
mos heoraice caneret et sermonem absque ulla Latina lingua 
proprietate personaret (Ep. 108 ad Eustoch. c. 26). This points 
to a connection between the church and synagogue psalm- 
melodies in the mos orientalium partium, the oriental psalmody, 
which was introduced by Ambrose into the Milanese church. 
Nevertheless, at the same time the Jewish element has under- 
gone scarcely any change; it has been developed under the 
influence of the Greek style, but is, notwithstanding, still re- 
cognizable. ** Pethachja of Ratisbon, the Jewish traveller in 
the 12th century, when in Bagdad, the ancient seat of the 
Geonim (D'OiNj), heard the Psalms sung in a manner alto- 
gether peculiar;*** and Benjamin of Tudela, in the same cen- 
tury, became acquainted in Bagdad with a skilful singer of 
the Psalms used in divine worship. Saadia on Ps. vi. 1, 

* vid. Priedr. Hommel's Psalter nach der deutschen Uebersetzung D. 
M. Luthers fUr den Gesang eingerichtet , 1859. The Psalms are there ar- 
ranged in stichs , rightly assuming it to be the original mode and the 
most appropriate, that antiphonal bong ought to alternate not according 
to the verses, as at the present day in the Romish and English church, 
but according to the two members of the verse. 

** vid. SaalschQtz, Geschichle und WUrdigung der Musik bet den He- 
ir Sern, 1829, S. 121, and Otto Stranss, Geschichtliche Betrachtung uber 
den Psalter ah Gesang- und Gebetbuch, 1S59. 
•*• vid. Literalurblalt des Orients, 4th year, col. 541. 

Digitized by 



Infers from rPJ'CBTpH' that there were eight different melodies 
(^IsjJI). And eight rvjvo are also mentioned elsewhere;* 
perhaps not without reference to those eight church -tones, 
which are also found among the Armenians.** Moreover the 
two modes of using the accents in chanting, which are at- 
tested in the ancient service -hooks,*** may perhaps he not 
altogether unconnected with the distinction between the festi- 
val and the simpler ferial manner in the Gregorian style of 
Church -music. 


The earliest translation of the Psalms is the Greek 
Alexandrine version. When the grandson of the son of Sirach 
came to Egypt in the year 132 B. C, not only the Law and 
the Prophets, but also the Hagiographa were already trans- 
lated into the Greek; of course therefore also the Psalms, by 
which the Hagiographa are directly named in Luke xxiv. 44. 
The story of the LXX (LXXII) translators, in its original 
form, refers only to the Thora; the translations of the other 
books are later and by different authors. All these trans- 
lators used a text consisting only of consonants, and these 
moreover were here and there more or less indistinct; this 
text had numerous glosses, and was certainly not yet, as la- 
ter, settled on the Masoretic basis. This they translated liter- 
ally, in ignorance of the higher exegetical and artistic func- 
tions of the translator, and frequently the translation itself is 
obscure. From Philo, Josephus and the New Testament we 
see that we possess the text of this translation substantially 
in its original form, so that criticism, which since the middle 
of the last century has acquired many hitherto unknown 
helps, f more especially also in the province of the Psalms, 
will not need to reverse its judgment of the character of the 

* Steinschneider, Jetvith Literature p. 336 sq. 

•* Petermann, Ueber die itusik der Armenier in the Deutsche Morgenl 
Zeitchrift v. 368 f. 

*** Zunz, Synagogalc Poetie, S. 115. 

t To this period belong 1) the Ptalterium Veronente published by 

Dlanchini 1740, the Greek text in Roman characters with the Italic 

at the side belonging to the 5th or 6th century (vid. Tischendorfs edition 

of the LXX, 1856, Prolegg. p. lviii sq.) ; 2) the Ptalterium Turicense pur- 

Digitized by 



work. Nevertheless, this translation, as being the oldest key 
to the understanding of the language of the Old Testament 
writings, as being the oldest mirror of the Old Testament 
text, which is not to be exempted from modest critical investi- 
gation, and as an important check upon the interpretation 
of Scripture handed down in the Talmud, in the Midrash, and 
in that portion of the national literature in general, not orig- 
inating in Egypt, — is invaluable. 

In one other respect this version claims a still greater 
significance. Next to the Book of Isaiah, no book is so fre- 
quently cited in the New Testament as the Psalter. The 
Epistle to the Hebrews has grown up entirely from the roots 
of the language of the Old Testament psalms. The Apoca- 
lypse, the only book which does not admit of being referred 
back to any earlier formula as its basis, is nevertheless not 
without references to the Psalter: Ps. ii in particular has a 
significant part in the moulding of the apocalyptic concept- 
ions and language. These New Testament citations, with few 
exceptions (as John xiii. 18), are based upon the LXX , even 
where this translation (as. e.g., Ps. xix. 5, li. 6, cxvi. 10), only in 
a general way, correctly reproduces the original text. The ex- 
planation of this New Testament use of the LXX is to be found 
in the high esteem in which this translation was held among the 
Jewish people: it was accounted, not only by the Hellenistic, but 
also by the Palestinian Jews, as a providential and almost mira- 
culous production ; and this esteem was justified by the fact, that, 
although altogether of unequal birth with the canonical writ- 

pureum described by Breitinger 1748, Greek Text likewise of tbe 5th or 
6th century {vid. ibid. p. liz sq.); 3) Palmorum Fragmenta papyracea londi- 
nensia (in the British Museum), Ps. x. 2— xviii. 6, xx. 14 — xxxiv. 6, of the 4th 
century, given in Tischendorf s Monumenta Sacra Tnediia. Nova Colleetio t i; 
4) Fragmenta Ptalmorum Tischendorfiana Ps. cxli (ii). 7 — 8, cxlii (iii). 1—3, 
cxliv (v). 7—13, of the 5th or 4th century in the Monumenta t. ii. There 
still remain unused to the present time 1) the Psallerium Greeco-Latinum 
of the library at St Gall, Cod. 17 in 4to, Greek text in uncial charac- 
ters with the Latin at the side; 2) Psallerium Gallico-Romano-Hebraico~ 
Grwcum of the year 909, Cod. 230 in the public library at Bamberg {vid. 
a description of this MS. by SchOnfelder in the Serapeum, 1865, No. 21) 
written by Solomon, abbot of St. Gall and bishop of Constance (d. 920), and 
brought to Bamberg by the emperor Henry II (d. 1024), who had received 
U as a gift when in St; Gall; as regards the criticism of the text of 
the LXX it is of like importance with the Veronente which it resembles. 

Digitized by 



tags, It nevertheless occupies a position in the history of di- 
vine revelation which forms a distinct epoch. For it was the 
first opportunity afforded to the gentile world of becoming 
acquainted with the Old Testament revelation, and thus the 
first introduction of Japheth into the tents of Shem. At the 
same time therewith, a distinct breaking down of the barriers 
of the Old Testament particularism was effected. The Alexan- 
drine translation was, therefore, an event which prepared the 
way for that Christianity, in which the appointment of the 
religion of Israel to be the religion of the world is perfected. 
This version, at the outset, created for Christianity the lang- 
uage which it was to use; for the New Testament Script- 
ures are written in the popular Greek dialect (xoivf)) with an 
Alexandrine colouring. And in a general way we may say 
that Alexandrinism moulded the forms beforehand, which 
Christianity was afterwards to fill up with the substance of 
the gospel. As the way of Jesus Christ lay by Egypt (Matth. ii. 
15), so the way of Christianity also lay by Egypt, and 
Alexandria in particular. 

Equally worthy of respecton account of its antiquity and 
independence, though not of the same importance as the LXX 
from a religio -historical point of view, is the Targum or 
Chaldee version of the Psalms: a version which only in a few 
passages assumes the form of a paraphrase with reference to 
Midrash interpretations. The date of its composition is uncer- 
tain. But as there was a written Targum to the Book of 
Job* even during the time of the Temple, there was also a 
Targum of the Psalms, though bearing in itself traces of mani- 
fold revisions, which probably had its origin during the dura- 
tion of the Temple. In distinction from the Targums of 
Onkelos to the Pentateuch and of Jonathan to the minor 
Prophets the Targum of the Psalms belongs to the so-called 
Jerusalem group,*'* for the Aramaic idiom in which it 
is written, — while, as the Jerusalem Talmud shews, it is 
always distinguished in no small degree from the Palestinian 
popular dialect as being the language of the literature — 
abounds in the same manner as the former in Greek words 

* tid. TosefXa to Sabb. xri, Jer. Sabb. xir, §. 1, Bab. Sabb. 115 a, 
So/rim v, 15. 

•* vid. Geiger, Vrschtift und Ucbertetzungen ier Bibel, S. 166 t 

Digitized by 

Google .-. 


(as \bi2A oTnfsXot, J'TjEW Uttpaa, p"Tp xiSpio;), and like it also 
closely approximates, in sound and formation, to the S yriac. 
From this translation which excels the LXX in grammatical 
accuracy and has at its basis a more settled and stricter text, 
we learn the meaning of the Psalms as understood in the 
synagogue, as the interpretation became fixed, under the 
influence of early tradition, in the first centuries of the Chris- 
tian era. The text of the Targum itself is at the present 
day in a very neglected condition. The most correct texts 
are to be found in Buxtorf and Norzi's Bibles. Critical obser- 
vations on the Targums of the Hagiographa are given in the 
treatise "|1N DtSijJ by Benzion Berkowitz (Wilna, 1843). 

The third most important translation of the Psalms is 
the Peshito, the old version of the Syrian church, which was 
made not later than in the second century. Its author trans- 
lated from the original text, which he had without the vowel 
points, and perhaps also in a rather incorrect form: as is seen 
from such errors as xvii. 15 ("jroiCN instead of "jnJion), lxxxiii. 
12 (>0"I2«1 1OTC dele eot et perde eos instead of 1D3H3 TOW), 
cxxxix. 16 ('^D3 retribulionem meam instead of ycbi). In other 
errors he is influenced by the LXX, as lvi. 9 ("paa LXX 
£va>m6v ooo instead of *ptOD) , he follows this version in such 
departures from the better text sometimes not without addi- 
tional reason, as xc. 5 (generationes eorum annus erunt, i. e. 
WV nits' Vmjm, LXX x& ISooSsviojAaxtx auTtov lxt\ eoovxai), ex. 3 
(populus luus gloriosus, i. e. IYOTJ 1DJ? in the sense of fCIJ, 
Job xxx. 15, nobility, rank, LXX j*sti oou ^ dp^). The fact 
that he had the LXX before him beside the original text is 
manifest, and cannot be done away by the supposition that the 
text of the Peshito has been greatly distorted out of the 
later Hexaplarian translation; although even this is probable, 
for the LXX won such universal respect in the church that 
the Syrians were almost ashamed of their ancient version, 
which disagreed with it in many points, and it was this very 
circumstance which gave rise in the year 617 A. D. to the 
preparation of a new Syriac translation from the Hexaplarian 
LXX -text. It is not however merely between the Peshito 
and the LXX, but also between the Peshito and the Targum, 
that a not accidental mutual relation exists, which becomes at 
once apparent in Ps. i (e. g. in the translation of cxb by 

Digitized by 



'Jp'DC and of mtfl by «Die:) and hardly admits of explanation 
by the use of the Christian Peshito on the part of the Jewish 
Targumist.* It may be more readily supposed that the old 
Syriac translator of the Psalms, of whom we are now speaking, 
was a Jewish Christian and did not despise the welcome as- 
sistance of the Targnm, which was already at hand, in whatever 
form it might be. It is evident that he was a Christian from 
passages like xix. 5, ex. 3, also from lxviii. 19 comp. with 
Ephes. iv. 8, Jer. xxxi. 31 comp. with Hebr. viii. 8; and his 
knowledge of the Hebrew language, with which, as was then 
generally the case, the knowledge of Greek was united, shews 
that he was a Jewish Christian. Moreover the translation 
has its peculiar Targum characteristics: tropical expressions 
are rendered literally, and by a remarkable process of rea- 
soning interrogative clauses are turned into express declara- 
tions: lxxxviii. 11 — 13 is an instance of this with a bold 
inversion of the true meaning to its opposite. In general the 
author shuns no violence in order to give a pleasing sense to 
a difficult passage e. g. xii. 6b, lx. 6. The musical and 
historical inscriptions, and consequently also the n'jD (includ- 
ing rfc pun ix. 17) he leaves untranslated, and the division 
of verses he adopts is not the later Masoretic. All these pecu- 
liarities make the Peshito all the more interesting as a 
memorial in exegetico -historical and critical enquiry: and 
yet, since Dathe's edition, 1768, who took the text of Erpenius 
as his ground -work and added valuable notes,** scarcely 
anything has been done in this direction. 

In the second century new Greek translations were also 
made. The high veneration which the LXX had hitherto 
enjoyed was completely reversed when the rupture between 
the synagogue and the church took place , so that the day 
when this translation was completed was no longer com- 
pared to the day of the giving of the Law, but to the day of 

• Although more recently we are told, Hai Gaon (in Babylonia) when 
he came upon a difficult passage in his Academical lectures on the 
Psalms enquired of the patriarch of the Eastern cliurch how he inter- 
preted it, vid. Steinschneider, Jewish Literature, p. 125 sq. 

** The fragments of the translation of the Ps., which are cited under 
the name 6 Zupoc, Dathe has also there collected in his preface. 

Digitized by 



the golden calf. Nor was it possible that it should be otherwise 
than that its defects should become more and more percep- 
tible. Even the New Testament writers found it requiring 
correction here and there, or altogether unfit for use, for the 
Palestinian text of the Old Testament which had been handed 
down, was not merely as regards the consonants but also as to 
pronunciation substantially the same as that which has been 
fixed by the Masoretes since the sixth century. Consequently 
Aquila of Pontus (a proselyte from heathenism to Judaism) 
in the first half of the 2nd century, made a Greek translation 
of the Old Testament, which imitated the original text word 
for word even at the risk of un-Greek expressions, and in 
the choice of the Greek words used is determined by the 
etymology of the Hebrew words. Not to lose any of the 
weighty words he translates the first sentence of the Thora 
thus : ' Ev xe<paXat(|> exxissv 6 6e6; ouv (nx) x 6v oopav&v xal ouv 
(r*0 ttjv p) v « I n the fragments of the translation of the Psalms, 
one of which has been preserved in the Talmudic literature 
(vid. on Ps. xlviii. 15), we do not meet with such instances of 
violence in favour of literalness, although also even there he 
forces the Greek into the form of the Hebrew, and always 
renders the words according to their primary meaning (e. g. 
"TCn XP T i!* aTllTt ^P t0V » !"6:iD etXir ( |Aa, nne avot? pa, 2m 8p!«j|*a, JOK 
rcemoxsopivw;), sometimes unhappily and misled by the usage 
the language had acquired in his time. In some passages ho 
reads the text differently from our present pointing {e. g. x. 
4 oxav &<JkdOtj), but he moreover follows the tradition (e. g. 
D^D isl, 'IB* ixav<5«, CJ"CD xo5 xa7:etv6<ppovo<; xal airXoo = ~\0 
ani) and also does not despise whatever the LXX may offer 
that is of any worth (e. g. Quoa 4v xop&aT?), as n j g translation 
throughout, although an independent one, relies more or 
less upon the pioneering work of its predecessor, the LXX. 
His talent as a translator is unmistakeable. He has perfect 
command of the Hebrew, and handles the treasures of the 
Greek with a master-hand. For instance, in the causative forms 
he is never in difficulty for a corresponding Greek word (^en 
irxo)|iox(Ceiv, V'ln Spojioov, ^3t?D lirioxrj|ioov and the like). The 
fact that he translated for the synagogue in opposition to 
the church is betrayed by passages like ii. 12, xxii. 17, ex. 3 
and perhaps also lxxxiv. 10, comp. Dan. ix. 26, where he pre- 

Digitized by 



fers ^leift|i6voo to Xpiorou: nevertheless one must not in this 
respect charge him with evil intentions throughout. Even 
Jerome, on calmer reflection, moderated his indignation against 
Aquila's translation to a less harsh judgment: ut amicee menti 
fatear, qua ad nostram fidem pertineant roborandam plura 
reperio, and praised it even at the expense of the translations 
of Theodotion and Symmachus: Isti Semichristiani Judaice 
tratistulerunt, et Judceus Aquila interpretatus est ut Christianus. 

The translation of Theodotion is not an original work. 
It is based upon the LXX and brings thin version, which was 
still the most widely used, into closer relation to the original 
text, by making use of Aquila's translation. The fragments 
that are preserved to us of passages independently translated 
contain nothing pre-eminently characteristic. Symmachus 
also takes the LXX as his basis, but in re-moulding it accord- 
ing to the original text he acts far more decidedly and 
independently than Theodotion, and distinguishes himself from 
Aquila by endeavouring to unite literalness with clearness 
and verbal accuracy: his translation of the Psalms has even 
a poetic inspiration about it. Both Aquila and Symmachus 
issued their translations twice, so that some passages are 
extant translated in a twofold form (yid. ex. 3). 

Beside the LXX. Aq. Symm. and Theod. there are also 
a fifth, sixth and seventh Greek translation of the Psalms. 
The fifth is said to have been found in Jericho under the em- 
peror Caracalla, the sixth in Nicopolis under the emperor 
Alexander Severus. The former, in its remains, shews a know- 
ledge of the language and tradition, the latter is sometimes 
(xxxvii. 35, Hab. iii. 13) paraphrastic. A seventh is also men- 
tioned besides, it is most like Theodotion. In the Hexapla 
of Origen, which properly contains only six columns (the 
Hebrew text, the Hebr. text in Greek characters, Aq., Symm., 
LXX, Theod.), in the Ps. and elsewhere a Quinta (E), Sexta 
(<:), and Septima (Z) are added to these six columns: thus the 
Hexapla (apart from the Seventh) became an Octapla. Of 
the remains of these old versions as compiled by Origen, after 
the labours of his predecessors Nobilius and Drusius, the 
most complete collection is that of Bernard de Montfaucon 
in his Hexaplorum Origenis quce supersunt (2 vols, folio, Paris 
1713); the rich gleanings since handed down from many 



different quarters* are unfortunately still scattered and 

Euthymius Zigadenus mentions beside the LXX, Aq., 
Symm., Theod., V., and VI., as a Seventh version that of Lu- 
cian which attempts to restore the original Septuagint-text by 
a comparison with the original text. Lucian died as a martyr 311 
A. D. in Nicomedia, whither he had been dragged from Antioch. 
The autograph of this translation was found in Nicomedia, 
hidden in a small rough-plastered tower.** We are as little 
able to form a conception of this Septuagint-recension of 
Lucian as of that of the cotemporary Egyptian bishop Hesy- 
chius, since not a single specimen of either is extant. It would 
be interesting to know the difference of treatment of the two 
critics from that of Origen, who corrected the text of the 
xoiw) after the Hebrew original by means of Theodotion's, 
obelis jugulans quae abundare videbantur, et quae deerant sub 
asteriscis inter ser ens, which produced a confusion that might 
easily have been foreseen. 

From the old Latin translation, the so-called Itala, made 
from the LXX, we possess the Psalter complete: Blanchini 
has published this translation of the Psalms (1740) from the 
Veronese Psalter, and Sabbatier in the second volume of his 
Latinee Versiones Antiques (1751) from the Psalter of the 
monastery of St. Germain. The text in Faber Stapulensis' 
Quincuplex Psalterium (1509) is compiled from Augustine; for 
Augustine, like Hilary, Ambrose, Prosper, and Gassiodorus, 
expounds the Psalms according to the old Latin text. Jerome 
first of all carefully revised this in Rome, and thus originated 
the Psalterium Romanum, which has been the longest retained 

* Thus e. g. Montfaacon was only able to make age of the Psalter-MS. 
Cod. Vat. 754 for 16 Psalms; Adler has compared it to the end and found 
in it valuable Hexapla fragments {vid. Rcpcrt. f&r Bibl. u. Morgcnl. Lit. 
xiT. S. 183 f.). The Psalm-commentary of Barhebrteus and the Psalleriutn 
Mediolanense have also been began to be worked with this object; but 
as yet, not the Syriac Psalter of the Medici library mentioned by Mont- 
faacon, Bibliothcca Bibliothecarum i. 240 and supposed to be based npoc 
the Quinla. 

** Comp. the Athanasian synopsis in Montfancon, Hexapla t. 1 p. 59 
and the contribution from a Syriac MS in the Repertorium fir Bibl, ts. 
Morgenl. Lit. ib. (1784) S. 4« f 

Digitized by 



by the church of Milan and the Basilica of the Vatican. Ha 
then in Bethlehem prepared a second more carefully revised 
edition, according to the Hexaplarian Septuagint- text* with 
daggers (as a sign of additions in the LXX contrary to the 
original) and asterisks (a sign of additions in the LXX from 
Theodotion in accordance with the original), and this second 
edition which was first adopted by the Gallican churches 
obtained the name of the Psalterium Gallicanum. It is not 
essentially different from the Psalter of the Vulgate, and 
appeared, with its critical signs, from a MS. of Bruno, bishop 
of Wiirzburg (died 1045), for the first time in the year 1494 
(then edited by Gochleus, 1533): both Psalters, the Romish 
and the Gallican, are placed opposite one another in Faber's 
Quincuplex Psalterium, in t. x. p. 1 of the Opp. Hieronymi, ed. 
Vallarsi and elsewhere. 

The Latin Psalters, springing from the common or from 
the Hexaplarian Septuagint-text, as also the Hexapla-Syriac 
and the remaining Oriental versions based upon the LXX and 
the Peshito, have only an indirectly exegetico-historical value. 
On the contrary Jerome's translation of the Psalter, juxta 
Hebraicam veritatem, is the first scientific work of translation, 
and, like the whole of his independent translation of the 
Old Testament from the original text, a bold act by which 
he has rendered an invaluable service to the church, without 
allowing himself to be deterred by the cry raised against such 
innovations. This independent translation of Jerome has 
become the Vulgate of the church: but in a text in many 
ways estranged from its original form, with the simple ex- 
ception of the Psalter. For the new translation of this book 
was opposed by the inflexible liturgical use it had attained; 
the texts of the Psalterium Bomanum and Gallicanum main- 
tained their ground and became (with the omission of the 
critical signs) an essential portion of the Vulgate. On this 
account it is the more to be desired that Jerome's Latin Psalter 

* INud breviler admoneo — says Jerome, Ep. cvi. ad Sunniam et Frete- 
lam — ut sciaiis, aliam esse editionem, quant Origenes et Cmsareensis Euse- 
bius omnesque Graeice traclalores Koiv^v, id est, Communem appellant atgue 
Fulgatam el a plerisque nunc Aoimavit dieitur; aliam Septuaginta Inter- 
prelum, qua fo'EganXoic eodicibut reperitur et a nobis in Latinum sermo* 
nem tideliter versa est et Hierosolyma dtque in Orientis ecclesiis decantatur. 

Digitized by 



ex Hebrceo (Opp. cd. Vallarsi t. ix. p. iii) were made mare 
generally known and accessible by a critical edition published 
separately. It is not necessary to search far for critical helps 
for such an undertaking. There is an excellent MS., Cod. 19, 
in the library of St. Gall, presented by the abbot Hartmot 
(died 895). 

Origen and Jerome learnt the language of the Old Testa- 
ment from Jewish teachers. All the advantages of Origen's 
philological learning are lost to us, excepting a few insigni- 
ficant remains, with his Hexapla: this gigantic bible which 
would be the oldest direct monument of the Old Testament 
text if it were but extant. Whereas in Jerome's Old Testa- 
ment translated from the original text (canon Hebraicce veritatis) 
we have the maturest fruit of the philological attainments of 
this indefatigable, steady investigator inspired with a zeal for 
knowledge. It is a work of the greatest critical and historical 
value in reference to language and exegesis. The translation 
of the Psalter is dedicated to Sophronius who had promised 
to translate it into Greek: this Greek translation is not pre- 
served to us. 

Jerome's translation of the Psalter has not its equal either 
in the synagogue or the church until the time of Saadia Gaon 
of Fajum, the Arabian translator of the Psalms. Two MSS. 
of his translation of the Psalms are to be found at Oxford; 
but the most important, which also contains his annotations 
complete, is in Munich. Schnurrer (1791) contributed Ps. 
xvi, xl and ex to Eichhorn's BibHolh. der Bibl. Lit. iii, from 
Cod. Pocock. 281, then Haneberg (1840) Ps. lxviii and several 
others from the Munich Cod.; the most extensive excerpts 
from Cod. Pocock. 281 and Cod. Huntingt. 416 (with various 
readings from Cod. Mon. appended) are given by Ewald in 
the first vol. of his Beilrage zur aitesten Ausleg. u. Sprach- 
erklarung des A. T. 1844. The gain which can be drawn from 
Saadia for the interpretation of the Psalms, according to the 
requirements of the present day, is very limited ; but he pro- 
mises a more interesting and rich advantage to philology and 
the history of exegesis. Saadia stands in the midst of the 
still ever mysterious process of development out of which the 
finally established and pointed text of the Old Testament 
came forth. lie has written a treatise on the punctuation 

Digitized by 



(nipy) to ■which Rashi refers in Ps. xlv. 10, hut in his treat* 
ment of the Old Testament text shews himself to he unfettered 
by its established punctuation. His translation is the first 
scientific work on the Psalms in the synagogue. The trans- 
lation of Jerome is five hundred years older, but only the 
translation of Luther has been able to stand side by side with 
it and that because he was the first to go back to the foun- 
tain head of the original text. 

The task, which is assigned to the translator of the sacred 
Scriptures, was recognised by Luther as by no one before him, 
and he has discharged it as no one up to the present day since 
his time has done. What Cicero said of his translation of' 
the two controversial speeches of Demosthenes and iEschines 
holds good also of Luther : Non converti ut interpres, sed ut 
orator, senlentiis iisdem et earum formis tanquam figuris, verbis 
ad nostram consuetudinem aptis: in quibus non verbumpro verbo 
necesse habui reddere, ted genus omnium verborum vimque ser- 
vavi; non enim ea me adnumerare lectori putavi oportere, sed 
tanquam adpendere — he has lived in thought and feeling 
in the original text in order not to reproduce it literally with 
a slavish adherence to its form, but to re-mould it into good 
and yet spiritually renewed German and at the same time 
to preserve its spirit free and true to its deepest meaning. 
This is especially the case with his translation of the Psalms, 
in which even Moses Mendelssohn has thought it to his advan- 
tage to follow him. To deny that here and there it is capable 
of improvement by a more correct understanding of the sense 
and in general by greater faithfulness to the original (without 
departing from the spirit of the German language), would 
indicate an ungrateful indifference to the advance which has 
been made in biblical interpretation — an advance not 
merely promised, but which we see actually achieved. 


If we now take a glance over the history of the exposition 
of the Psalms, we shall see from it how late it was before the 
proper function of scientific exposition was recognised. We 
begin with the apostolic exposition. The Old Testament 
according to its very nature tends towards and centres in 

Digitized by 



Christ. Therefore the innermost truth of the Old Testament 
has been revealed in the revelation of Jesus Christ. But not 
all at once: His passion, resurrection, and ascension are three 
steps of this progressive opening up of the Old Testament, 
and of the Psalms in particular. Our Lord himself, both 
before and after His resurrection, unfolded the meaning of 
the Psalms from His own life and its vicissitudes; He shewed 
how what was written in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets 
and in the Psalms was fulfilled in Him; He revealed to His 
disciples the meaning too otmivai xA« "]fpa«pd« Luke xxiv. 44 sq. 
Jesus Christ's exposition of the Psalms is the beginning and 
the goal of Christian Psalm-interpretation. This began, as 
that of the Christian church, and in fact first of all that of 
the Apostles, at Pentecost when the Spirit, whose instrument 
David acknowledges himself to have been (2 Sam. xxiii. 2), 
descended upon the Apostles as the Spirit of Jesus, the ful- 
filler and fulfilment of prophecy. This Spirit of the glorified 
Jesus completed what, in His humiliation and after His resur- 
rection, he had begun: He opened up to the disciples the 
meaning of the Psalms. How strongly they were drawn to 
the Psalms is seen from the fact that they are quoted about 
seventy times in the New Testament, which, next to Isaiah, 
is more frequently than any other Old Testament book. From 
these interpretations of the Psalms the church will have to draw 
to the end of time. For only the end will be like the begin- 
ning and even surpass it. But we must not seek in the New 
Testament Scriptures what they are not designed to furnish, 
viz., an answer to questions belonging to the lower grades of 
knowledge, to grammar, to cotemporary history and to criticism. 
The highest and final questions of the spiritual meaning of 
Scripture find their answer here; the grammatico-historico- 
critical under-structure, — as it were, the candlestick of the 
new light, — it was left for succeeding ages to produce. 

The post-apostolic, patristic exposition was not ca- 
pable of this. The interpreters of the early church with the 
exception of Origen and Jerome possessed no knowledge of the 
Hebrew tongue, and even these two not sufficient to be able 
to rise to freedom from a dependence upon the LXX which 
only led them into frequent error. Of Origen's Commentary 
and Homilies on the Ps. we possess only fragments translated 

Digitized by 



by Rufinus, and his orijivTjjia etc too; <{«xXp.oo« (edited complete 
by Kleopas, 1855, from a MS. in the monastery of Mar-Saba). 
Jerome, contra Rufinum i. § 19, indeed mentions Commentarioli 
on the Ps. by himself, but the Breviarium in Psalterium (in t. 
vii. p. ii of his Opp. ed. Vallarst) bearing his name is allowed 
not to be genuine, and is worthless as regards the history of 
the text and the language. The almost complete Commentary 
(on Ps. i — cxix according to the Hebrew reckoning) ofEuse- 
bius, made known by Montfaucon (CoUeclio nova Patrum et 
Scriptorum Grtec. t. i) is unsuspected. Eusebius, though living 
in Palestine and having a valuable library at command, 
is nevertheless so ignorant of the Hebrew , that he considers 
it is possible Maptaji (D!"I")D) in Ps. ex may refer, to Mary. 
But by contributions from the Hexapla he has preserved 
many acceptable treasures of historical value in connection 
with the translation, but of little worth in other respects, 
for the interpretation is superficial, and capriciously allegorical 
and forced. Athanasius in his short explanation of the Psalms 
(in t. i p. ii of the Benedictine edition) is entirely dependent 
on Philo for the meaning of the Hebrew names and words. 
His book: irpi? MapxeXXTvov etc xJjv ep|»)vstav xd>v <J<aX[id>v (in 
the same vol. of the Benedictine edition) is a very beautiful 
essay. It treats of the riches contained in the Psalms, classi- 
fies them according to their different points of view, and gives 
directions how to use them profitably in the manifold cir- 
cumstances and moods of the outward and inner life. Johann 
Reuchlin has translated this little book of Athanasius into 
Latin, and Jorg Spalatin from the Latin of Beuchlin into- 
German (1516. 4to.). Of a similar kind are the two books of 
Gregory of Nyssa el? ■rijv lmYpa<pV xeov <J*aX|ia>v (Opp. ed. 
Paris, t. i), which treat of the arrangement and inscriptions; 
but in respect of the latter he is so led astray by the LXX, 
that he sets down the want of titles of 12 Ps. (this is the 
number according to Gregory), which have titles in the LXX, 
to Jewish imaxia and xaxt'a. Nevertheless there are several 
valuable observations in this introduction of the great Nyssene. 
About cotemporaneously with Athanasius, Hilarius Picta- 
viensis, in the Western church, wrote his allegorizing (after 
Origen's example) Tractates in librum Psalmorum with an 
extensive prologue, which strongly reminds one ofHippolytus' 
vol. i * 

Digitized by 



We still have his exposition of Ps. i. ii. ix. xiii. xiv. li Hi. 
liii — lxix. xci. cxviii — cl (according to the numbering of the 
LXX); according to Jerome (Ep. ad Augustin. cxii*) it is trans- 
ferred from Origen and Eusebius. It is throughout ingenious 
and pithy, but more useful to the dogmatic theologian than 
to the exegete (t. xxvii. xxviii of the Collectio Patrum by 
Caillau and Guillon).** Somewhat later, but yet within the last 
twenty years of the fourth century (about 386 — 397), come 
Ambrose's Enarrationes in Ps. i. xxxv — xl. xliii. xlv. xlvii. xlviii. 
lxi. cxyiii (in t. ii of the Benedictine edition). The exposition 
of Ps. i is likewise an introduction to the whole Psalter, 
taken partly from Basil. He and Ambrose have pronounced 
the highest eulogiums on the Psalter. The latter says: 
Psalmus enim benedictio populi est, Dei laus, plebis laudatio, 
plausus omnium, sermo universorum, vox Ecclesice, fidei canora 
confessio, aucloritatis plena devotio, Uberlatis Icetitia, clamor 
jucundilatis, Imtitice resultatio. Ab iracundia mitigat, a sollici- 
tudine abdicat, a mcerore allevat. Nocturna arma, diurna magi- 
sterial scutum in timore, festum in sanctilate, imago tranquillilatis, 
pignus pacts atque Concordia;, citharm modo ex diversis et dis- 
paribus vocibus unam exprimens cantilenam. Diet ortus psalmum 
resultat, psalmum resonat occasus. After such and similar 
prefatory language we are led to expect from the exposition 
great fervour and depth of perception: and such are really 
its characteristics, but not to so large an extent as might 
have been the case had Ambrose — whose style of writing 
is as musical as that of Hilary is stiff and angular — worked 

* The following Greek expositors of the Psalms are mentioned there: 
1) Origen, 2) Eusebius of Cesarea, 3) Theodore of Heraclea (the Anonymus 
in Cordcrius' Catena), A) Asterius of Scythopolis, 5) Apollinaris (Apolina- 
rios) of Laodicea, 6) Didymus of Alexandria. Then the following Latin 
expositors: 1) Hilary of Poictiers, who translated or rather remodelled 
Origen's Homilies on the Psalms (Jerome himself says of him, Ep. lvii ad 
Pammach.i captivos tentus in tuam linguam viclorit jure transposuif) , 2) 
Eusebius of Vercelli , translator of the commentary of Eusebius of Csesarea, 
and 3) Ambrose, who was partly dependent upon Origen. Of Apollinaris the 
elder, we have a Me-ratppasic too <J»aXTf,po; Std atiytuv f,po>TxiDv preserved 
to vs. He has also translated the Pentateuch and other Old Testament 
books into heroic verse. 

** vid. the characteristics of this commentary in Beinkens, /li/armt 
ton Poitiers (1664) 8. 291—308. 


Digitized by 



out these expositions, which were partly delivered as sermons, 
partly dictated, with his own hand. 

The most comprehensive work of the early church on the 
Psalms was that of Ghrysostom, which was probably written 
while at Antioch. We possess only the exposition of 58 Ps. 
or (including Ps. iii and xli, which in their present form do 
not belong to this work) 60 Ps. (in t. r of Montfaucon's 
edition). Photius and Suidas place this commentary on the 
Psalms in the highest rank among the works of Ghrysostom. 
It is composed in the form of sermons, the style is brilliant, 
and the contents more ethical than dogmatic. Sometimes the 
Hebrew text according to the Hexapla is quoted, and the 
Greek versions which depart from the original are frequently 
compared, but, unfortunately, generally without any name. 
There is hardly any trace in it of the renowned philologico- 
liistorical tendency of the school of Antioch. Theodoret (in 
t. ii p. ii of the Halle edition) was the first to set before 
himself the middle course between an extravagant allegorising 
aud an unspiritual adherence to the literal historical sense (by 
which he doubtless has reference to Theodore of Mopsuestia), 
and thus to a certain extent he makes a beginning in distin- 
guishing between the province of exegesis and practical 
application. But this scientific commencement, with even 
more of the grammatico-historical tendency, is still defective 
and wanting in independence. For example, the question 
whether all the Psalms are by David or not, is briefly decided 
in the affirmative, with xpa-cstxto t<ov -).si6vcov $) ^r ( ^o;. * The 
designed, minute comparison of the Greek translators is most 
thankworthy; in other respects, this expositor, like the Syrians 
generally, is wanting in the mystic depth which might compen- 
sate for the want of scientific insight. All this may be also said 
of Euthymius Zigadenus (Zigabenus) : bis commentary on the 

* In the Talmud R. Meir, Pesachim 117 a, adopts the view thai 
Dafidis the author of all the Ps.: po« in £>D 0' -1903? IVTOtTl bo, 
while in Bathra 14 b ten authors arc supposed: v\i ^jj rj'^nfl "|DD 3D3 "in 
E'Jpt iTSty, ' *"'<*• on this, Mid rash to Cant. iv. 4 and Eccl. vii. 19. In 
the former passage ni'D^rb is explained as an emblematic name of the 
Psalter: roifl ni'S b VmONt? 1DD, the book of David, to which the 
mouths of many have contributed. And there are two modern commen- 
taries, vi». by Klauss, 1832, and Randeggcr, 1841, which are written with 
the design of proving all the Psalms to be Davidic. 


Digitized by 



Psalms (in Greek in t. iv of the Venetian edition of the Opp. 
Theophylacti), written at the desire of the emperor Alexius 
Comnenus, is nothing but a skilful compilation, in the prepar- 
ation of which he made good use of the Psalm-catena, likewise 
a compilation, of the somewhat earlier Nixf ( -a; Ssppeov*, 
which is to be found on Mount Athos and is still unprinted. 

The Western counterpart to Chrysostom's commentary 
are Augustine's Enarrationes in Psalmos (in t. iv of the Bene- 
dictine edition). The psalm -singing in the Milanese church 
had contributed greatly to Augustine's conversion. But his 
love to his Lord was fired still more by the reading of the 
Psalms when he was preparing himself in solitude for his 
baptism. His commentary consists of sermons which he wrote 
down in part himself and in part dictated. Only the thirty- 
two sermones on Ps. cxviii (cxix), which he ventured upon last 
of all, were not actually delivered. He does not adopt the 
text of Jerome as his basis, but makes use of the older Latin 
version, the original text of which he sought to establish, and 
here and there to correct, by the LXX; whereas Arnobius, 
the Semi -Pelagian, in his paraphrastic Africano-Latin com- 
mentary on the Psalms (first edition by Erasmus, Basilece, 
Froben. 1522, who, as also Trithemius, erroneously regarded 
the author as one and the same with the Apologist) no longer 
uses the so-called Itala, but takes Jerome's translation as his 
basis. The work of Augustine far surpassing that of Chrysostom 
in richness and depth of thought, has become, in the Western 
church, the chief mine of all later exposition of the Psalms. 
Cassiodorus in his Expositiones in omnes Psalmos (in t. ii of the 
Bened. ed.) draws largely from Augustine, though not devoid 
of independence. 

What the Greek church has done for the exposition of 
the Psalms has been garnered up many times since Photius 
in so-called Zstpat, Catena. That of Nicetas archbishop of 
Serra in Macedonia (about 1070), is still unprinted. One, 
extending only to Ps. 1, appeared at Venice 1569, and a com- 
plete one, edited by Gorderius, at Antwerp 1643 (3 vols., from 

* This information is found in the modern Greek edition of Euthe- 
mius' Commentary on the Ps. by Nicodemos the Agiorite (2 vols. Con- 
stantinople 1819 — 21), which also contain* extracts from this catena of 
Nicetas Serronius. 

Digitized by 



Vienna and Munich MSS.). Folckmann (1601) made extracts 
from the Catena of Nicetas Heracleota, and Aloysius Lippo- 
manus began a Catena from Greek and Latin writers on the 
largest scale (one folio vol. on Ps. i — x, Romce 1585). The 
defects to be found in the ancient exposition of the Psalms 
are in general the same in the Greek and in the Western ex- 
positors. To their want of acquaintance with the text of the 
original was added their unmethodical, irregular mode of 
procedure, their arbitrary straining of the prophetic charac- 
ter of the Psalms (as e. g. Tertullian, Be spectaculis, takes 
the whole of Ps. i as a prophecy concerning Joseph of Ari- 
mathea), their unhistorical perception, before which all dif- 
ferences between the two Testaments vanish, and their mis- 
leading predilection for the allegorical method. In all this, 
the meaning of the Psalms, as understood by the apostles, 
remains unused; they appropriate it without rightly appre- 
hending it, and do not place the Psalms in the light of the 
New Testament fulfilment of them, but at once turn them 
into New Testament language and thoughts. But the church 
has never found such rapturous delight in the Psalms, which 
it was never weary of singing day and night, never used them 
with richer results even to martyrdom, than at that period. 
Instead of profane popular songs, as one passed through the 
country one might hear psalms resounding over the fields and 
vineyards. Quocunque te verleris, writes Jerome to the widow 
of Marcellus from the Holy Land, aralor stivam tcnens Alleluja 
decantat, sudans messor psalmis se avocat et curva attondent 
vitem falce vinitor aliquid Davidicum canit. Hcec sunt in hac 
provincia carmina, ha (ut vulgo dicitur) amatorice cantiones, 
hie pastorum sibilus, hcec arma culturce. The delights of 
country life he commends to Marcella in the following among 
other words: Vere ager floribus pingitur et inter querulas aves 
J'salmi dulcius cantabuntur. In Sidonius Apollinaris we find 
even psalm-singing in the mouth of the men who tow the boats, 
and the poet takes from this a beautiful admonition for 
Christians in their voyage and journey through this life: 

Curvorum hinc chorus helciariorum 

Iicsponsantibus Alleluja ripis 

Ad Christum levat amicum celeusmu. 

Sic, sic psallite, nauta et viator! 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 


And how many martyrs have endured every form of martyr* 
dom with psalms upon their lips! That which the church in 
those days failed to furnish in writing towards the exposition 
of the Psalms, it more than compensated for by preserving 
the vitality of the Psalms with its blood. Practice made far 
more rapid progress than theory.* These patristic works are 
patterns for every age of the true fervour which should cha- 
racterise the expositor of the Psalms. 

The mediaeval ehurch exposition did not make any 
essential advance upon the patristic. After Cassiodorus, came 
Haymo (d. 853) and Remigius of Auxerre (d. about 900), still 
less independent compilers; the commentary of the former, 
edited by Erasmus, appeared Trib. 1531, of the latter, first 
Colon. 1536, and then in the Bibl. maxima Lugdunensis. That 
of Petrus Lombardus (d. about 1160) is a catena taken di- 
rectly from earlier expositors from Jerome to Alcuin. Of a 
more independent character are the commentaries of Thomas 
Aquinas, who however only completed 51 Ps., and Alexander 
of Hales, if the Commentary which appeared under his name 
( Tenet. 1496) is not rather to be attributed to cardinal Hugo. 
Besides these, Bonaventura (d. 1274) and Albertus Magnus 
(d. 1280) stand out prominently in the Middle Ages as expo- 
sitors of the Psalms; and on the border of the Middle Ages 
Michael Ayguanus (about 1400) whose commentary has been fre- 
quently reprinted since its first appearance, Mediol. 1510. If you 
know one of these expositors, you know them all. The most that 
they have to offer us is an echo of the earlier writers. By 
their dependence on the letter of the Vulgate, and conse- 
quently indirectly of the LXX, they only too frequently light 
upon a false track and miss the meaning. The liter alls sen- 
sus is completely buried in mysticce intellig entice. Without ob- 
serving the distinction between the two economies, the con- 
version of the Psalms into New Testament language and 

• vid. besides the essay by Otto Strauss, already mentioned: Arm- 
knecht, Die heilige Psalmodie Oder der psalmodirende Kdnig David und 
die singende Urkirche, 1855; and W. von Gttlick, Das Psallerium nach sei- 
ncm Hauptinhalte m seiner mssenschafllichcn und praklisehen Bedettlung 
(a Catholic prize essay) 1858; partly also Rudelbach's Hymnologische Stu- 
d/cn in the Luther. Zeilschrifl 1855, 4, 1S56, 2. and especiallyno penitent- 
ial psalm-singing Z5ckler's Geschichte der Ashese (I8G3) S. 256— 26 J. 

Digitized by 



thought, regardless of the intermediate steps of development, 
is here continued. Thus, for example, Albertus Magnus in his 
commentary (Opp. t. vii), on the principle: Constat, quod totus 
liber iste de Christo, at once expounds Beatus vir (Ps. i. 1), 
and the whole Ps., de Christo et ejus corpore ecclesia. But as 
we find in the Fathers occasional instances of deep insight 
into the meaning of passages, and occasional flashes of thought 
of lasting value, so even here the reading, especially of the 
mystics, will repay one. — The greatest authority in psalm- 
exposition for the Middle Ages was Augustine. From Au- 
gustine, and perhaps we may add from Cassiodorus, Notker 
Labeo (d. 1022), the monk of St. Gall, drew the short an- 
notations which, verse by verse, accompany his German trans- 
lation of the Psalms (vol. ii of H. Hattemer's Denkmahle des 
Mittelalters). In like manner the Latin Psalter-catena of bish- 
op Bruno of Wurzburg (d. 1045), mentioned above, is com- 
piled from Augustine and Cassiodorus, but also from Jerome, 
Bede and Gregory. And the Syriac annotations to the Psalms 
of Gregory Barhebrseus (d. 1286), — of which Tullberg and 
Koraen, Upsala 1842, and Schroter, Breslau 1857, have pub- 
lished specimens, — are merely of importance in connection 
with the history of exposition , and are moreover in no way 
distinguished from the mediaeval method. 

The mediaeval synagogue exposition is wanting in tho 
recognition of Christ, and consequently in the fundamental 
condition required for a spiritual understanding of the Psalms. 
But as we are indebted to the Jews for the transmission 
of the codex of the Old Testament, we also owe the trans- 
mission of the knowledge of Hebrew to them. So far the 
Jewish interpreters give us what the Christian interpreters 
of the same period were not able to tender. The interpre- 
tations of passages from the Psalms scattered up and down 
in the Talmud are mostly unsound, arbitrary, and strange. 
And the Midrash on the Ps., bearing the title 21B "iptS* (yid. 
Zunz, Fortrage, §. 266 ff.), and the Midrash-catense entitled 
trp^, of which at present only iy\yvtf Eip^> (by Simeon Kara 
ha-Darshan) is known, and 'TCD tsip^ (by Machir b. Abba- 
Mari), contain far more that is limitlessly digressive than 
what is to the point and usable. This class of psalm-expo- 
sition was always employed for the thoroughly practical end 

Digitized by 



of stimulating and edifying discourse. It is only snoe about 
900 A. D., when indirectly under Syro-Arabian influence. the 
study of grammar began to be cultivated among the Jews, 
that the exposition and the application of Scripture began 
to be disentangled. At the head of this new era of Jewish 
exegesis stands Saadia Gaon (d. 941 — 2), from whose Arabic 
translation and annotations of the Ps. Haneberg (1840) and 
Ewald (1844) have published extracts. The Karaites, Salmon 
b. Jerocham and Jefeth, both of whom have also expounded 
the Psalms, are warm opponents of Saadia; but Jefeth whose 
commentary on the Psalms* has been in part made known by 
Barges (since 1846), nevertheless already recognises the in- 
fluence of grammar, which Saadia raised to the dignity of a 
science, but which Salmon utterly discards. The next great 
expositor of the Psalms is Rashi (t. e. Rabbi Salomo Isaaki) 
of Troyes (d. 1105), who has interpreted the whole of the 
Old Testament (except the Chronicles) and the whole of the 
Talmud ; ** and he has not only treasured up with pithy bre- 
vity the traditional interpretations scattered about in the 
Talmud and Midrash, but also (especially in the Psalms) made 
use of every existing grammatico- lexical help. Aben-Ezra 
of Toledo (d. 1167) and David Kimchi of Narbonne (d. about 
1250) are less dependent upon tradition, which for the most 
part expended itself upon strange interpretations. The for- 
mer is the more independent and genial, but seldom happy 
in his characteristic fancies; the latter is less original, but 
gifted with a keener appreciation of that which is simple and 
natural, and of all the Jewish expositors he is the pre- 
eminently grammatico - historical interpreter. Gecatilia's 
(Mose ha-Cohen Chiquitilla) commentary on the Psalms writ- 
ten in Arabic is only known to us from quotations, princip- 
ally in Aben-Ezra. In later commentaries, as those of Mose 
Alshech (Venice 1601) and Joel Shoeb (Salonica 1569), the 
simplicity and elegance of the older expositors degenerates 
into the most repulsive scholasticism. The commentary of 

• It is to be found in MS. partly in Paris, partly in St. Peters- 
burg: the former having been brought thither from Egypt by Munk iu 
1841 and the latter by Tischendorf in 1853. 

** But on some parts of the Talmud, e. g. tlie tractate Maccolh, w« 
have not any commentary by Eashi. 

Digitized by 



Obadia Sforno (d. at Bologna 1550), Reuchlin's teacher, is 
too much given to philosophising, but is at least withal clear 
and brief. Their knowledge of the Hebrew gives all these 
expositors a marked advantage over their Christian cotempo- 
raries, but the veil of Moses over their eyes is thicker in propor- 
tion to their conscious opposition to Christianity. Neverthe- 
less the church has not left these preparatory works unused. 
The Jewish Christians, Nicolaus de Lyra (d. about 1340), the 
author of the Postillm perpetuce, and Archbishop Paul de Santa 
Maria of Burgos (d. 1435), the author of the Additiones ad Ly- 
ram, took the lead in this respect. Independently, like the 
last mentioned writers, Augustinus Justinianus of Genoa, in 
his Octaplus Psalterii (Genoa, 1516, folio), drew chiefly from 
the Midrash and Sohar. The preference however was gener- 
ally given to the use of Aben-Ezra and Kimchi; e. g. Bucer, 
who acknowledges his obligation to these, says: neque enim 
candidi ingenii est dissimulare, per quos profeceris. Justinianus, 
Pagninus, and Felix were the three highest authorities on 
the original text at the commencement of the Reformation. 
The first two had gained their knowledge of the original from 
Jewish sources and Felix Pratensis, whose Psalterium ex kebreo 
diligentissitne ad verbum fere translation, 1522, appeared under 
Leo X., was a proselyte. 

We have now reached the threshold of the Reformation 
exposition. Psalmody in the reigning church had sunk to a 
lifeless form of service. The exposition of the Psalms lost 
itself in the dependency of compilation and the chaos of the 
schools. Et ipsa quamvis frigida tractatione Psalmorum — says 
Luther in his preface to Bugenhagen's Latin Psalter — aliquis 
lamen odor vilae oblatus est plerisque bona: mentis hominibus, 
et utcunque ex verbis illis eliam non intelleclis semper aliquid 
consolationis et aurulm senserunt e Psalmis pii, veluti ex roseto 
leniter spirantis. Now, however, when a new light dawned upon 
the church through the Reformation — the light of a gram- 
matical and deeply spiritual understanding of Scripture , re- 
presented in Germany by Reuchlin and in France by Vata- 
blus — then the rose-garden of the Psalter began to breathe 
forth its perfumes as with the renewed freshness of a May 
day; and born again from the Psalter, German hymns re- 
sounded from the shores of the Baltic to the foot of the Alps 

Digitized by 



with all the fervour of a newly quickened first-love. "It is 
marvellous" — says the Spanish Carmelite Thomas a Jesu,— 
u how greatly the hymns of Luther helped forward the Lu- 
theran cause. Not only the churches and schools echo with them, 
but even the private houses, the workshops, the markets, 
streets, and fields." For converted into imperishable hymns 
(by Luther, Albinus, Franck, Gerhardt, Jonas, Musculus, 
Poliander, Ringwaldt, and many more) the ancient Psalms 
were transferred anew into the psalmody of the German as 
of the Scandinavian* Lutheran church. In the French church 
Clement Marot translated into verse 30 Ps., then 19 more 
(1541—43) and Theodore Beza added the rest (1562).** Cal- 
vin introduced the Psalms in Marot's version as early as 1542 
into the service of the Geneva church, and the Psalms have 
since continued to be the favorite hymns of the Reformed 
church. Goudimel, the martyr of St. Bartholomew's night 
and teacher of Palestrina, composed the melodies and cho- 
rales. The English Established church adopted the Psalms 
direct as they are, as a portion of its liturgy, the Congre- 
gational church followed the example of the sister-churches 
of the Continent. And how industriously the Psalter was 
moulded into Greek verse, as by Olympia Morata (d. 
1555)*** and under the influence of Melanthonf into Latin! 
The paraphrases of Helius Eoban Hesse (of whom Martin 
Herz, 1860, has given a biographical sketch)ff, Joh. Major, 
Jacob Micyllus (whose life Classen has written, 1859), Joh. 
Stigel (whose memory has been revived by Paulus Cassel 
1860), Gre. Bersmann (d. 1611), and also that begun by Geo. 
Buchanan during his sojourn in a Portuguese monastery, are 
not only learned performances, but productions of an inward 

* The Swedish hymns taken from the Psalms hare been recently 
remodelled for congregational use and augmented by Bnneberg (Oerebro 

** vid. Felix Bovet, Les Psanmes de Marot et de Beze, in the Lansanne 
magazine, Le Chretien F.vangclique, 1866, No. 4. 

*** vid. examples in Bonnet's life of Olympia Morata. Germ. transL 
by Merschmann I860 S. 131—135. 

t vid. Wilhelin Thilo, Melanchlhon im Dienste an heii. Schrifl 
(Berlin, 1859). S. 28. 

ft His Psalms (to which Veit Dietrich wrote notes) passed through 
forty editions in seventy years. 

Digitized by 



spiritual need; although one must assent to the judgment 
expressed by Harless, that the best attempts of this kind 
only satisfy one in proportion as we are able first of all U 
banish the remembrance of the original from our mind. 

But since the time of the Reformation the exegetical 
functions of psalm-exposition have been more clearly appre- 
hended and more happily discharged than ever before. In 
Luther, who opened his academical lectures in 1514 with the 
Ps. (in Latin in Luther's own hand writing in Wolfenbiittel) 
and began to publish a part of them in 1519 under the title 
Operationes in duos Psalmorum decades, the depth of experi- 
ence of the Fathers is united to the Pauline recognition 
(which he gave back to the church) of the doctrine of free 
grace. It is true, he is not entirely free from the allegorising 
which he rejected in thesi, and, in general, from a departure a 
sensu liter ee, and there is also still wanting in Luther the 
historical insight into the distinctive character of the two 
Testaments; but with respect to experimental, mystical, and 
withal sound, understanding he is incomparable. His inter- 
pretations of the Psalms, especially of the penitential Ps. 
and of Ps. xc, excel every thing hitherto produced, and are 
still a perpetual mine of wealth. Bugenhagen's exposition 
of the Psalms (Basel 1524, 4to. and freq.) continued the 
interrupted work of Luther, who in a brief but forcible pre- 
face says in its praise, that it is the first worthy of the name 
of an exposition. Penetration and delicacy of judgment dis- 
tinguish the interpretation of the five books of the Psalms 
by Aretius Felinus t. e. Martin Bucer (1529, 4to. and freq.). 
The Autophyes (= a se et per se Existens), by which through- 
out he translates pnrVi gives it a remarkable appearance. 
But about the same time, as an exegete, Calvin came for- 
ward at the side of the German reformer. His commentary 
(first published at Geneva 1564) combines with great psycho- 
logical penetration more discernment of the types and greater 
freedom of historical perception, but is not without many 
errors arising from this freedom. Calvin's strict historical 
method of interpretation becomes a caricature in Esrom 
Riidinger, the schoolmaster of the Moravian brethren, who 
died at Altorf in 1591 without being able, as he had intended, 
to issue his commentary, which appeared in 1580 — 81, in a 

Digitized by 



new and revised form. His is an original work which, after 
trying many conjectures, at last assigns even the first Psalm 
to the era of the Seleucidae. 

Within the range of the post- Re form at ion exposition 
the first that meets us is Reinhard Bakius, the persevering and 
talented pastor of Magdehurg and Grimma during the Thirty- 
years' war, whose Coram, exegetico-practictts on the Ps. (in the first 
edition by his son 1664) is a work of extensive reading and good 
sense, in many respects a welcome supplement to Luther, cram- 
med full of all kinds of notable things about the Psalms, under 
which, however, the thread of simple exposition is lost. Martin 
Geier keeps the work of the exposition most distinctly before 
him, adhering more closely to it and restraining himself from 
digression. His lectures on the Psalms delivered at Leipzig 
extended over a period of eighteen years. Deep piety and 
extensive learning adorn his commentary (1668), but the free 
spirit of the men of the Reformation is no longer here. Geier 
is not capable of turning from dogmatics, and throwing him- 
self into the exegesis: a traditional standard of exegesis had 
become fixed, to overstep which was accounted as heterodox. 
In the Reformed church Cocceius stands prominently forward 
(d, 1669). He was an original and gifted man, but starting 
from false principles of hermeneutics, too fond of an eschato- 
logical literalness of interpretation. 

Not only the two Protestant churches, but also the 
Romish church took part in the advancing work of psalm- 
exposition. Its most prominent expositors from 1550 — 1650 
are Genebrardus, Agellius, and De Muis, all of whom possess- 
ing a knowledge of the Semitic languages, go back to the 
original, and Bellarmin, who brings to the work not merely 
uncommon natural talents, but, within the limits of papistical 
restraint, a deep spiritual penetration. Later on psalm- 
exposition in the Romish church degenerated into scholasti- 
cism. This is at its height in Le Blanc's Psalmorum Davidi- 
corum Analysis and in Joh. Lorinus' Commentaria in Psalmos 
(6 folio vols. 1665 — 1676). In the protestant churches, 
however, a lamentable decline from the spirit of the men of 
the Reformation in like manner manifested itself. The Ad- 
notationes uberiores in Hagiographa (t. i. 1745, 4to: Ps. and 
Prov.) of Joh. Heinrich Michaelis are a mass of raw materials: 

Digitized by 



the glossarial annotations groan beneath the burden of num. 
berless unsifted examples and parallel passages. What had 
been done during the past sixteen hundred years remains 
almost entirely unnoticed; Luther is not explored, even Calvin 
within the pale of his own church no longer exerts any in- 
fluence over the exposition of Scripture. After 1750, the 
exposition of Scripture lost that spiritual and ecclesiastical 
character which had gained strength in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, but had also gradually become torpid; whereas in tho 
Romish church, as the Psalm-expositions of DeSacy, Berthier 
and La Harpe shew, it never sank so low as to deny the 
existence of revealed religion. That love for the Ps., which 
produced the evangelical hymn-psalter of that truly Christian 
poet and minister Christoph Karl Ludwig von Pfeil (1747),* 
prefaced by Bengel, degenerated to a merely literary, or at 
most poetical, interest, — exegesis became carnal and un- 
spiritual. The remnant of what was spiritual in this age of 
decline, is represented by Burk in his Gnomon to the Ps. 
(1760) which follows the model of Bengel, and by Chr. A. 
Crusius in the second part of his Hypomnemata ad Theologiam 
Propheticam (1761), a work which follows the track newly 
opened up by Bengel, and is rich in germs of progressive 
knowledge (vid. my Biblisch-prophetische Theologie, 1845). We 
may see the character of the theology of that age from Joh. 
Dav. Michaelis' translation of the Old Testament, with notes 
for the unlearned (1771), and his writings on separate Psalms. 
From a linguistic and historical point of view we may find 
something of value here; but besides, only wordy, discursive, 
tasteless trifling and spiritual deadness. It has been the 
honour of Herder that he has freed psalm-exposition from 
this want of taste, and the merit of Hengstenberg (first of all 
in his Lectures), that he has brought it back out of this want 
of spirituality to the believing consciousness of the church. 
The transition to modern exposition is marked by 
Rosenmiiller's Scholia to the Ps. (first published in 1798— 
1804), a compilation written in pure clear language with 
exegetical tact and with a thankworthy use of older exposi- 
tors who had become unknown, as Riidinger, Bucer, and 

♦ vid. hie Life by Heinr. Men (1863), S. 111—117. 


Digitized by' 


Agellius, and also of Jewish writers. De Wette's commentary 
on the Psalms (first published in 1811, 5 th edition by Gustav 
Baur, 1856) was far more independent and forms an epoch 
in exegesis. De Wette is precise and clear, and also not 
without a perception of the beautiful; but his position in 
relation to the Scripture writers is too much like that of a 
reviewer, his research too sceptical, and his estimate of the 
Fs. does not sufficiently recognise their place in the history 
of redemption. He regards them as national hymns, partly 
in the most ordinary patriotic sense, and when his theological 
perception fails him, he helps himself out with sarcasm against 
the theocratic element, which he carries to the extreme of 
disgust. Nevertheless, De Wette's commentary opens up a 
new epoch so far as it has first of all set in order the hitherto 
existing chaos of psalm -exposition, and introduced into it 
taste and grammatical accuracy, after the example of Herder 
and under the influence of Gesenius. He is far more independ- 
ent than Rosenmiiller, who though not wanting in taste and 
tact, is only a compiler. In investigating the historical cir- 
cumstances which gave rise to the composition of the different 
psalms, De Wette is more negative than assumptive. Hitzig 
in his historical and critical commentary (1835. 36), which 
has appeared recently in a revised form (Bd. 1, 1863, Bd. 2. 
Abth. 1, 1864, Abth. 2, 1865), has sought to supplement posi- 
tively the negative criticism of De Wette, by ascribing to 
David fourteen Ps. of the seventy three that bear the inscrip- 
tion lT\b, assigning all the Ps. from the lxxiii onwards, 
together with i. ii. lx (these three, as also cxlii — cxliv, cl, by 
Alexander Jannseus) to the Maccabean period (<?. g. exxxviii 
— cxli to Alexander's father, John Hyrcanus), and also infer- 
ring the authors (Zechariah, 2 Chron. xxvi. 5; Isaiah, Jere- 
miah) or at least the date of composition of all the rest. 

Yon Lengerke , in his commentary compiled half from 
Hengstenberg, half from Hitzig (1847), has attached himself to 
this so-called positive criticism, which always arrives atpositive 
results and regards Maccabean psalms as the primary stock of 
the Psalter. Yon Lengerke maintains that not a single Ps. 
can with certainty be ascribed to David. Olshausen (in his 
Comment. 1853), who only leaves a few Ps., as ii. xx. xxi, to 
the time of the kings prior to the Exile, and with a propens- 

Digitized by 



ity, which he is not able to resist, brings down all the others 
to the time of the Maccabees, even to the beginning of the 
reign of John Hyrcanus, also belongs to the positive school. 
Whereas Hupfeld in his commentary, 1855 — 1862 (4 toIs.), 
considers it unworthy of earnest investigation, to lower one's 
self to such "childish trifling with hypotheses" and remains true' 
to De Wette's negative criticism: but he seeks to carry it out in 
a different way. He also maintains that none of the Ps. admit 
of being with certainty ascribed to David; and proceeds on 
the assumption, that although only a part of the inscriptions 
are false, for that very reason none of them can be used by us. 

We stand neither on the side of this scepticism, which 
everywhere negatives tradition, nor on the side of that self- 
confidence, which mostly negatives it and places in opposition 
to it its own positive counter-assumptions; but we do not 
on this account fail to recognise the great merit which Ols- 
liausen, Hupfeld and Hitzig have acquired by their expositions 
of the Psalms. In Olshausen we prize his prominent talent 
for critical conjectures; in Hupfeld grammatical thoroughness, 
and solid study so far as it is carried; in Hitzig the stimula- 
ting originality everywhere manifest, his happy perspicacity 
in tracing out the connection of the thoughts, and the marv- 
ellous amount of reading which is displayed in support of 
the usage of language and of that which is admissible accord- 
ing to syntax. The commentary of Ewald (Poetische JSucher, 
1839, 40. 2nd edition 1866), apart from the introductory port- 
ion, according to its plan only fragmentarily meets the 
requirements of exposition, but in the argument which pre- 
cedes each Ps. gives evidence of a special gift for perceiving 
the emotions and throbbings of the heart and entering into 
the changes of feeling. 

None of these expositors are in truly spiritual rapport with 
the spirit of the psalmists. The much abused commentary of 
Hengstenberg 1842—1847 (4 vols. 2nd edition 1849—1852) con- 
sequently opened a new track, in as much as it primarily set the 
exposition of the Psalms in its right relation to the church once 
more, and was not confined to the historico-grammatical function 
of exposition. The kindred spirited works of Umbreit (Christ- 
liche Erbauung cms dem Psalter 1835) and Stier (Siebenzig Psalmen 
1834. 36), which extend only to a selection from the Psalms, ma? 

Digitized by 



be regarded as its forerunners, and the commentary of Tholuck 
(1847) who excludes verbal criticism and seeks to present the 
results of exegetical progress in a practical form for the use of 
the people, as its counterpart. For the sake of completeness 
we may also mention the commentary of Koster (1837) which 
has become of importance for its appreciation of the artistic 
form of the Psalms, especially the strophe -system, and 
Vaihinger's(1845). Out of Germany, no work on the Psalms 
has appeared which could he placed side by side with those 
of Hengstenberg, Hupfeld and Hitzig. And yet the inexhaust. 
ible task demands the combined work of many hands. Would 
that the examples set by Bjork, by Perret-Gentil, Armand de 
Mestral and J. F. Thrupp, of noble rivalry with German 
scholarship might find many imitators in the countries of the 
Scandinavian, Latin, and English tongues! Would that the 
zealous industry of Bade and Beinke, the noble endeavours 
of Schegg and Konig, might set an example to many in the 
Romish church! Would that also the Greek church on the 
basis of the criticism of the LXX defended by Pharmakides 
against Oikonomos, far surpassing the works on the Ps. of Nico- 
dimos and Anthimos, which are drawn from the Fathers, might 
continue in that rival connection with German scholarship of 
which the Prolegomena to the Psalm-commentary of the 
Jerusalem patriarch Anthimos, by Dionysios Eleopas (Jeru- 
salem 1855. 4to.) give evidence! Non plus ultra is the watch- 
word of the church with regard to the word of God, and 
plus ultra is its watchword with regard to the understanding 
of that word. Common work upon the Scriptures is the finest 
union of the severed churches and the surest harbinger of 
their future unity. The exposition of Scripture will rear the 
Church of the Future. 


The expositor of the Psalms can place himself on the 
standpoint of the poet, or the standpoint of the Old Testa- 
ment church, or the standpoint of the church of the present 
dispensation — a primary condition of exegetical progress 
is the keeping of these three standpoints distinct, and, in 
accordance therewith, the distinguishing between the two 

Digitized by 



Testaments, and in general, between the different steps in the 
development of the revelation, and in the perception of the 
plan, of redemption. For as redemption itself has a progres- 
sive history, so has the revelation and growing perception of 
it a progressive history also, which extends from paradise, 
through time, on into eternity. Redemption realizes itself in 
a system of facts, in which the divine purpose of love for the 
deliverance of sinful humanity unfolds itself, and the revela- 
tion of salvation is given in advance of this gradually devel- 
oping course of events in order to guarantee its divine author- 
ship and as a means by which it may be rightly understood. 
In the Psalms we have five centuries and more of this progres- 
sive realizing, disclosing, and perception of salvation laid 
open before us. If we add to this the fact that one psalm is 
by Moses, and that the retrospective portions of the historical 
psalms refer back even to the patriarchal age, then, from the 
call of Abraham down to the restoration of Israel's position 
among the nations after the Exile, there is scarcely a single 
event of importance in sacred history which does not find some 
expression in the Psalter. And it is not merely facts external 
to it, which echo therein in lyric strains, but, because David, 
— next to Abraham undoubtedly the most significant character 
of sacred history in the Old Testament, — is its chief com- 
poser, it is itself a direct integral part of the history of 
redemption. And it is also a source of information for the 
history of the revelation of redemption, in as much as it 
flowed not from the Spirit of faith merely, but mainly also 
from the Spirit of prophecy: but, pre-eminently, it is the 
most important memorial of the progressive recognition of 
the plan of salvation, since it shews how, between the giving 
of the Law from Sinai and the proclamation of the Gospel 
from Sion, the final, great salvation was heralded in the 
consciousness and life of the Jewish church. 

We will consider 1) the relation of the Psalms to 
the prophecy of the future Christ. When man whom 
God had created, had corrupted himself by sin, God did not 
leave him to that doom of wrath which he had chosen for 
himself, but visited him on the evening of that most unfor- 
tunate of all days, in order to make that doom the disciplinary 
medium of His love. This visitation of Jahve Elohim was 
vol. t a 

Digitized by 




the first step in the history of redemption towards the goal 
of the incarnation, and the so-called protevangelium was the 
first laying of the foundation of His verhal revelation of law 
and gospel — a revelation in accordance with the plan oi 
salvation, and preparing the way towards this goal of the 
incarnation and the recovery of man. The way of this salva- 
tion, which opens up its own historical course, and at the 
same time announces itself in a form adapted to the human 
consciousness, runs all through Israel , and the Psalms shew 
us how this seed-corn of words and acts of divine love has 
expanded with a vital energy in the believing hearts of Israel. 
They bear the impress of the period, during which the pre- 
paration of the way of salvation was centred in Israel and 
the hope of redemption was a national hope. For after man- 
kind was separated into different nations, salvation was con- 
fined within the limits of a chosen nation, that it might 
mature there, and then bursting its bounds become the pro- 
perty of the human race. At that period the promise of the 
future Mediator was in its third stage. The hope of over- 
coming the tendency in mankind to be led astray into evil 
was attached to the seed of the woman, and the hope of a 
blessing for all peoples, to the seed of Abraham: but, at this 
period, when David became the creator of psalm-poesy for 
the sanctuary service, the promise had assumed a Messianic 
character and pointed the hope of the believing ones towards 
the king of Israel, and in fact to David and his seed: the 
salvation and glory of Israel first, and indirectly of the nations, 
was looked for from the mediatorship of Jahve's Anointed. 

The fact that among all the Davidic psalms there is only 
a single one, viz. Ps. ex, in which David (as in his last words 
2 Sam. xxiii. 1 — 7) looks forth into the future of his seed 
and has the Messiah definitely before his mind, can only be 
explained by the consideration, that he was hitherto himself 
the object of Messianic hope, and that this hope was first 
gradually (especially in consequence of his deep fall) separ- 
ated from himself individually, and transferred to the future. 
Therefore when Solomon came to the throne the Messianio 
desires and hopes of Israel were directed towards him, as 
Ps. lxxii shews; they belonged only to the one final Christ 
of God, but they clung for a long time enquiringly and with 

Digitized by 



a. perfect right (on the ground of 2 Sam. vii) to the direct 
son of David. Also in Ps. xlv it is a son of David, cotem- 
porary with the Korahite singer, to whom the Messianic pro- 
mise is applied as a marriage benediction, wishing that the 
promise may he realized in him. 

But it soon became evident that He, in whom the full reali- 
zation of the idea of the Messiah is to be found, had not yet 
appeared either in the person of this king or of Solomon. And 
when in the later time of the kings the Davidic line became 
more and more inconsistent with its vocation in the sacred 
history, then the hope of the Messiah was completely weaned 
of its expectation of immediate fulfilment, and the present 
became merely the dark ground from which the image of the 
Messiah, as purely future, stood forth in relief. The TH"|3, 
in whom the prophecy of the later time of the kings centres, 
and whom also Ps. ii sets forth before the kings of the earth 
that they may render homage to Him, is an eschatological 
character (although the rv"inN was looked for as dawning 
close upon the border of the present). In the mouth of the 
congregation Ps. xlv and cxxxii, since their contents referred 
to the future, have become too prophetically and eschato- 
logically Messianic. But it is remarkable that the number 
of these psalms which are not merely typically Messianic is 
so small , and that the church of the period after the Exile 
has not enriched the Psalter with a single psalm that is 
Messianic in the stricter sense. In the later portion of the 
Psalter, in distinction from the strictly Messianic psalms, 
the theocratic psalms are more numerously represented, i. e. 
those psalms which do not speak of the kingdom of Jahve's 
Anointed which shall conquer and bless the world, not of the 
Christocracy, in which the theocracy reaches the pinnacle 
of its representation, but of the theocracy as such, which is 
complete inwardly and outwardly in its own representation 
of itself, — not of the advent of a human king, but of Jahve 
Himself, with the kingdom of God manifest in all its glory. 
For the announcement of salvation in the Old Testament 
runs on in two parallel lines: the one has as its termination 
the Anointed of Jahve, who rules all nations out of Zion, 
the other, the LORD Himself sitting above the Cherubim, to 
whom all the earth does homage. These two lines do not 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 



meet in the Old Testament; it is only the fulfilment that 
makes it plain, that the advent of the Anointed one and the 
advent of Jahve is one and the same. And of these two lines 
the divine is the one that preponderates in the Psalter; the 
hope of Israel, especially after the kingship had ceased in 
Israel, is directed generally beyond the human mediation 
directly towards Jahve, the Author of salvation. The funda- 
mental article of the Old Testament faith runs tvnb PinjW 1 
(Ps. iii. 9, Jon. ii. 10). The Messiah is not yet recognised as a 
God-man. Consequently the Psalms contain neither prayer to 
Him, nor prayer in His name. But prayer to Jahve and 
for Jahve's sake is essentially the same. For Jesus is in 
Jahve. Jahve is the Saviour. And the Saviour when he shall 
appear, is nothing but the visible manifestation of the PijnB* 
of this God (Isa. xlix. 6). 

In considering the goal of the Old Testament history in 
its relation to the God-man, we distinguish five classes of 
psalms which are directed towards this goal. After 2 Sam. vii 
the Messianic promise is no longer in a general way connected 
with the tribe of Judah, but with David; and is referred not 
merely to the endless duration of his kingdom, but also to 
one scion of his house, in whom that to which God has appoin- 
ted the seed of David in its relation to Israel first, and from 
Israel to all the other nations, shall be fully realised, and 
without whom the kingdom of David is like a headless trunk. 
Psalms in which the poet, looking beyond his own age, com- 
forts himself with the vision of this king in whom the promise 
is finally fulfilled, we call eschatological psalms, and in 
fact directly eschatologically Messianic psalms. These 
connect themselves not merely with the already existing pro- 
phetic utterances, but carry them even further, and are only 
distinguished from prophecy proper by their lyric form; for 
prophecy is a discourse and the psalms are spiritual songs. 

The Messianic character of the Psalms is, however, not 
confined to prophecy proper, the subject of which is that 
which is future. Just as nature exhibits a series of stages 
of life in which the lower order of existence points to the 
next order above it and indirectly to the highest, so that, 
for instance, in the globular form of a drop we read the in- 
timation of the struggle after organism, as it were, in tha 

Digitized by 



simplest barest outline: so also the progress of history is 
typical, and not only as a whole, hut also most surprisingly 
in single traits, the life of David is a vaticinium reale of the 
life of Him, whom prophecy calls directly *m fay Ezek. xxxiv. 
23 sq. xxxvii. 24 sq. and alba "m Hos. iii. 5, Jer. xxx. 9, as 
the David who is, as it were, raised from the dead in a glo- 
rified form. Those psalms in which David himself (or even a 
poet throwing himself into David's position and mood) gives 
expression in lyric verse to prominent typical events and 
features of his life, we call typically Messianic psalms. 
This class, however, is not confined to those, of which David 
is directly or indirectly the subject, for the course of suffering 
of all the Old Testament saints , and especially of the pro- 
phets in their calling (vid. on xxxiv. 20 sq. and Ps. lxix), was 
to a certain extent a tuko; too [iiXXovro?. All these psalms, 
not less than those of the first class, may be quoted in the 
New Testament with the words tva itXi)pa>&^, with this differ- 
ence only, that in the former it is the prophetic word, in 
the latter the prophetic history, that is fulfilled. The older 
theologians, especially the Lutheran, contended against the 
supposition of such typological citations of the Old Testa- 
ment in the New: they were destitute of that perception of 
the organic element in history granted to our age, and con- 
sequently were lacking in the true counterpoise to their rigid 
notions of inspiration. 

But there is also a class of Psalms which we call typico- 
prophetically Messianic, viz. those in which David, de- 
scribing his outward and inward experiences, — experiences 
even in themselves typical, — is carried beyond the limits of 
his individuality and present condition, and utters concerning 
himself that which, transcending human experience, is in- 
tended to become historically true only in Christ. Such 
psalms are typical, in as much as their contents is grounded 
in the individual, but typical, history of David; they are, 
however, at the same time prophetic, in as much as they ex- 
press present individual experience in laments, hopes, and 
descriptions which point far forward beyond the present and 
are only fully realised in Christ. The psychological possi- 
bility of such psalms has been called in question; but they 
would only be psychologically impossible, if one were obliged 

Digitized by 



to suppose that David's self-consciousness must under such 
circumstances pass over into that of his antitype; but it is 
in reality quite otherwise. As the poet in order to describe 
his experiences in verse, idealises them, i. e. seizes the idea 
of them at the very root, and, stripping off all that is advent- 
itious and insignificant, rises into the region of the ideal: 
so David also in these psalms idealises his experiences, which 
even in itself results in the reduction of them to all that is 
essential to their continuance as types. This he does, how- 
ever, not from his own poetic impulse, but under the in- 
spiration of the Spirit of God; and a still further result 
which follows from this is, that the description of his typical 
fortunes and their corresponding states of feeling is moulded 
into the prophetic description of the fortunes and feelings 
of his antitype. 

Beside these three classes of Messianic psalms one may 
regard psalms like xlv and lxxii as a fourth class of indi- 
rectly eschatologically Messianic psalms. They aro 
those in which, according to the time of their composition, 
Messianic hopes are referred to a cotemporary king, but 
without having been fulfilled in him; so that, in the mouth 
of the church, still expecting their final accomplishment, 
these psalms have become eschatological hymns and their 
exposition as such, by the side of their chronological inter- 
pretation, is fully warranted. 

A fifth class is formed by the eschatologically Je- 
hovic psalms, which are taken up with describing the ad- 
vent of Jahve and the consummation of His kingdom, which is 
all through brought about by judgment (vid. Ps. xciii). The 
number of these psalms in the Psalter greatly preponderates. 
They contain the other premiss to the divine-human end of 
the history of salvation. There are sudden flashes of light 
thrown upon this end in the prophets. But it remains re- 
served to the history itself to draw the inference of the unto 
personalis from these human and divine premises. The Re- 
deemer, in whom the Old Testament faith reposed, is Jahve. 
The centre of the hope lay in the divine not in the human 
king. That the Redeemer, when He should appear, would 
be God and man in one person was alien to the mind of the 
Old Testament church. And the perception of the fact 

Digitized by 



that He would be sacrifice and priest in one person, only 
penetrates in single rays into the Old Testament darkness, 
the cynosure of which is mm, and fiim only. 

Coming nowto consider 2) the relation of the Psalms 
to the legal sacrifice, we shall find this also different 
from what we might expect from the stand-point of fulfilment. 
Passages certainly are not wanting where the outward legal 
sacrifice is acknowledged as an act of worship on the part 
of the individual and of the congregation (lxvi. 15, li. 21); 
but those occur more frequently, in which in comparison 
with the Xoftxii Xatpeia it is so lightly esteemed, that with- 
out respect to its divine institution it appears as something 
not at all desired by God, as a shell to be cast away, and 
as a form to be broken in pieces (zl. 7 sq. 1. li. 18 sq.). But 
it is not this that surprises us. It is just in this respect 
that the psalms contribute their share towards the progress 
of sacred history. It is that process of spiritualisation which 
begins even in Deuteronomy, and which is continued by rea- 
son of the memorable words of Samuel, 1 Sam. xv. 22 sq. 
It is the spirit of the New Testament, growing more and 
more in strength, which here and in other parts of the Psal- 
ter shakes the legal barriers and casts off the oroi^eta too 
x6o{iou as a butterfly does its chrysalis shell. But what is 
substituted for the sacrifice thus criticised and rejected? 
Contrition, prayer, thankgiving, yielding one's self to God 
in the doing of His will, as Prov. xxi. 3 to do justly, Hos. vi. 6 
kindness, Mic. vi. 6 — 8 acting justly, love, and humility, Jer. 
vii. 21 — 23 obedience. This it is that surprises one. The 
disparaged sacrifice is regarded only as a symbol not as a type; 
it is only considered in its ethical character, not in its relation 
to the history of redemption. Its nature is unfolded only so 
far as it is a gift to God (pip), not so far as the offering is 
appointed for atonement (niDD); in one word: the mystery 
of the jblood remains undisclosed. Where the New Testa- 
ment mind is obliged to think of the sprinkling with the 
blood of Jesus Christ, it is, in Ps. li. 9, the sprinkling of the 
legal ritual of purification and atonement that is mentioned, 
and that manifestly figuratively but yet without the signifi- 
cance of the figure. Whence is it? — Because the sacrifice 
with blood, as such, in the Old Testament remains a question 

Digitized by 



to which Isaiah, in ch. liii, gives almost the only distinct 
answer in accordance with its historical fulfilment; for pass- 
ages like Dan. ix. 24 sqq. Zech. xii. 10, xiii. 7 are themselves 
questionable and enigmatical. The prophetic representation 
of the passion and sacrifice of Christ is only given in direct 
prophetic language thus late on, and it is only the evang- 
elic history of the fulfilment that shews, how exactly the 
Spirit which spoke by David has moulded that which he says 
concerning himself, the type, into correspondence with the 
antitype. The confidence of faith under the Old Testament, 
as it finds expression in the Psalms, rested upon Jahve even 
in reference to the atonement, as in reference to redemption 
in general. As He is the Saviour, so is He also the one who 
makes the atonement (1D3&), from whom expiation is earn- 
estly sought and hoped for (lxxix. 9, lxv. 4, lxxviii. 38, 
lxxxv. 3 and other passages). It is Jahve who at the end of 
His course of the redemptive history is the God-man, and the 
blood given by Him as the medium of atonement (Lev. xvii. 
11) is, in the antitype, His own blood. 

Advancing from this point, we come to examine 3) the 
relation of the Psalms to the New Testament right- 
eousness of faith and to the New Testament mor- 
ality which flows from the primary command of in- 
finite love. Both with respect to the atonement and to 
redemption the Psalms undergo a complete metamorphosis 
in the consciousness of the praying New Testament church — ■ 
a metamorphosis, rendered possible by the unveiling and 
particularising of salvation that has since taken place, and to 
which they can without any reserve be accommodated. There 
are only two points in which the prayers of the Psalms ap- 
pear to be difficult of amalgamation with the Christian con- 
sciousness. These are the moral self-confidence bordering on 
self-righteousness, which is frequently maintained before God 
in the Psalms, and the warmth of feeling against enemies 
and persecutors which finds vent in fearful cursings. The 
self-righteousness here is a mere appearance; for the right- 
eousness to which the psalmists appeal is not the merit of 
works, riot a sum of good works, which are reckoned up be- 
fore God as claiming a reward, but a godly direction of the will 
and a godly form of life, which has its root in the surrender of 

Digitized by 



uie's whole self to God and regards itself as the operation 
and work of justifying, sanctifying, preserving and ruling 
grace (lxxiii. 25 sq. xxv. 5 — 7, xiz. 14 and other passages). 
There is not wanting an acknowledgement of the innate sin- 
fulness of our nature (li. 7), of the man's exposure to punish- 
ment before God apart from His grace (cxliii. 2), of the many, 
and for the most part unperceived, sins of the converted (xix. 
13), of the forgiveness of sins as a fundamental condition 
to the attainment of happiness (xxxii. 1 sq.), of the necessity 
of a new divinely-created heart (li. 12), in short, of the way 
of salvation which consists of penitential contrition, pardon, 
and newness of life. 

On the other hand it is not less true, that in the light 
of the vicarious atonement and of the Spirit of regeneration 
it becomes possible to form a far more penetrating and subtle 
moral judgment of one's self; it is not less "true, that the tribu- 
lation, which the New Testament believer experiences, though 
it does not produce such a strong and overwhelming sense 
of divine wrath as that which is often expressed in the psalms, 
nevertheless sinks deeper into his inmost nature in the 
presence of the cross on Golgotha and of the heaven that 
is opened up to him, in as much as it appears to him to 
be sent by a love that chastens, proves, and prepares him 
for the future; and it is not less true, that after the right- 
eousness of God — which takes over our unrighteousness 
and is accounted even in the Old Testament as a gift of 
grace — lies before us for believing appropriation as a 
righteousness redemptively wrought out by the active and 
passive obedience of Jesus, the distinctive as well as the 
reciprocally conditioned character of righteousness of faith 
and of righteousness of life is become a more clearly per- 
ceived fact of the inner life, and one which exercises a more 
powerful influence over the conduct of that life. * Neverthe- 
less even such personal testimonies, as Ps. xvii. 1—5, do not 

* cf. Knrts, Zur Theologie der Psalmen, III: The self-righteousnest of 
the psalmists, in the Dorpater Zeitschrift 1865 S. 352—358: "The Old 
Testament righteousness of faith, represented by the evangelium visibile 
of the sacrificial worship , had not as yet the fundamental and primary, 
helpful position assigned to it, especially by Paul, in the New Testament 

Digitized by 



resist conversion into New Testament forms of thought and 
experience, for they do not hinder the mind from thinking 
specially, at the same time, of righteousness of faith, of God's 
acts which are performed through the medium of sacraments, 
and of that life resulting from the new birth, which main- 
tains itself victorious in the old man; moreover the Christian 
ought to be himself earnestly warned by them to examine 
himself whether his faith is really manifest as an energising 
power of a new life; and the difference between the two 
Testaments loses its harshness even here, in the presence of 
the great verities which condemn all moral infirmity, viz. that 
the church of Christ is a community of the holy, that the blood 
of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin, and that whosoever 
is born of God doth not commit sin. 

But as to the so-called imprecatory psalms,* in the 
position occupied by the Christian and by the church towards 
the enemies of Christ, the desire for their removal is certainly 
outweighed by the desire for their conversion: but assuming, 
that they will not be converted and will not anticipate their 
punishment by penitence, the transition from a feeling of love 
to that of wrath is warranted in the New Testament (e. g. 
Gal. v. 12), and assuming their absolute Satanic hardness of 
heart the Christian even may not shrink from praying for 
their final overthrow. For the kingdom of God comes not 
only by the way of mercy but also of judgment; and the coming 
of the kingdom of God is the goal of the Old as well as of 
the New Testament saint (vid. ix. 21, lix. 14 and other pas- 
sages), and every wish that judgment may descend upon 
those who oppose the coming of the kingdom of God is 
cherished even in the Psalms on the assumption of their 
lasting impenitence (yid. vii. 13 sq. cix. 17). Where, how- 
ever, as in Ps. lxix and cix, the imprecations go into parti- 
culars and extend to the descendents of the unfortunate one 


but only a more secondary position; justification is conceived not as 
condition of the sanctification which is to be striven after, bat as 
supplementing of that which is wanting in the sanctification thus defect- 
ively striven after. 

• cf. Kurtz, ibid. IV: The imprecatory Psalms, ibid. S. 359—372 an<! 
our discussions in the introductions to Ps. xzxv and cix, which belong to 
this class. 

Digitized by 



and even on to eternity, the only justification of them is this, 
that they flow from the prophetic spirit, and for the Christian 
they admit of no other adoption, except as, reiterating them, 
he gives the glory to the justice of God, and commends him- 
self the more earnestly to His favour. 

Also 4) the relation of the Psalms to the Last 
Things is such, that in order to be used as prayers expressive 
of the New Testament faith they require deepening and 
adjusting. For what Julius Africanus says of the Old Testa- 
ment: ouSsrca) SeSoto iXicl? dvaoxaoeax; ocupT)?, holds good at least 
of the time before Isaiah. For Isaiah is the first to foretell, in 
one of his latest apocalyptic cycles (ch. xxiv — xxvii), the first 
resurrection, i. e. the re-quickening of the martyr-church that 
has succumbed to death (ch. xxvi. 19), just as with an extended 
vision he foretells the termination of death itself (ch. xxv. 8) ; 
and the Book of Daniel — that Old Testament apocalypse, 
sealed until the time of its fulfilment — first foretells the 
general resurrection, i. e. the awakening of some to life and 
others to judgment (ch. xii. 2). Between these two prophe- 
cies comes Ezekiel's vision of Israel's return from the Exile 
under the figure of a creative quickening of a vast field of 
corpses (ch. xxxvii) — a figure which at least assumes that 
what is represented is not impossible to the wonder-working 
power of God, which is true to His promises. But also in 
the latest psalms the perception of salvation nowhere appears 
to have made such advance, that these words of prophecy 
foretelling the resurrection should have been converted into 
a dogmatic element of the church's belief. The hope, that the 
bones committed, like seed, to the ground would spring forth 
again, finds expression first only in a bold, but differently ex- 
pressed figure (cxli. 7); the hopeless darkness of Sheol (vi. 6, 
xxx. 10, lxxxviii. 11 — 13) remained unillumined, and where 
deliverance from death and Hades is spoken of, what is meant 
is the preservation of the living, either experienced (e. g. 
Ixxxvi. 13) or hoped for (e. g. cxviii. 17) from falling a prey to 
death and Hades, and we find in connection with it other pas- 
sages which express the impossibility of escaping this universal 
final destiny (lxxxix. 49). The hope of eternal life after death 
is nowhere definitely expressed, as even in the Book of Job the 
longing for it is never able to expand into a hope, because 

Digitized by 



no light of promise shines into that night, which reigns over 
Job's mind, — a night, which the conflict of temptation 
through which he is passing makes darker than it is in itself. 
The pearl which appears above the waves of temptation is 
only too quickly swallowed up again by them. 

Also in the Psalms we find passages in which the hope 
of not falling a prey to death is expressed so broadly, that 
the thought of the final destiny of all men being inevitable is 
completely swallowed up by the living one's confidence of 
living in the strength of God (Ivi. 14 and esp. xvi. 9—11); 
passages in which the covenant relation with Jahve iscontrasted 
with this present life and its possession, in such a manner 
that the opposite of a life extending beyond the present time 
is implied (xvii. 14 sq., lxiii. 4); passages in which the end of 
the ungodly is compared with the end of the righteous as 
death and life, defeat and triumph (xlix. 15), so that the 
inference forces itself upon one, that the former die although 
they seem to live for ever, and the latter live for ever 
although they die at once; and passages in which the psalmist, 
though only by way of allusion, looks forward to a being 
borne away to God, like Enoch and Elijah (xlix. 16, lxxiii. 
24). Nowhere, however, is there any general creed to be found, 
but we see how the belief in a future life struggles to be 
free, at first only, as an individual conclusion of the believing 
mind from premises which experience has established. And 
far from the grave being penetrated by a glimpse of heaven, 
it has, on the contrary, to the ecstasy of the life derived from 
God, as it were altogether vanished; for life in opposition 
to death only appears as the lengthening of the line of the 
present ad infinitum. Hence it is that we no more find in the 
Psalms than in the Book of Job a perfectly satisfactory theo- 
dicy with referenceto thatdistribution of human fortunes in 
this world, which is incompatible with God's justice. — 
Ps. vii. xlix. lxxiii. certainly border on the right solution 
of the mystery, but it stops short at mere hint and presage, 
so that the utterances that touch upon it admit of different 

* vid. Kurtt, ibid. II: The doctrine of retribution in the Ptalmt, ibid. 
S. 316—352. 

Digitized by 



But on the other hand, death and life in the mind of the 
psalmists are such deep-rooted notions (1. e. taken hold of 
at the very roots, •which are grounded in the principles of di- 
vine wrath and divine love), that it is easy for the New 
Testament faith, to which they have become clear even to 
their back ground of hell and heaven, to adjust and deepen 
the meaning of all utterances in the Psalms that refer to 
them. It is by no means contrary to the meaning of tho 
psalmist when , as in passages like Ps. vi. 6, Gehenna is sub- 
stituted for Hades to adapt it to the New Testament saint; 
for since the descent of Jesus Christ into Hades there is no 
longer any limbus patrum, the way of all who die in the Lord 
is not earthwards but upwards, Hades exists only as the vest- 
ibule of hell. The psalmists indeed dread it, but only as tho 
realm of wrath or of seclusion from God's love, which is the 
true life of man. Nor is it contrary to the idea of the poets 
to think of the future vision of God's face in all its glory 
in Ps. xvii. 15 and of the resurrection morn in Ps. xlix. 15; 
for the hopes expressed there, though to the Old Testament 
consciousness they referred to this side the grave, are future 
according to their New Testament fulfilment, which is the 
only truly satisfying one. There is, as Oetinger says, no 
essential New Testament truth not contained in the Psalms 
either vot (according to its unfolded meaning), or at least 
icvsupaTu The Old Testament barrier encompasses the germ- 
inating New Testament life, which at a future time shall burst 
it. The eschatology of the Old Testament leaves a dark 
background, which, as is designed, is divided by the New 
Testament revelation into light and darkness, and is to be 
illumined into a wide perspective extending into the eternity 
beyond time. Everywhere, where it begins to dawn in this 
eschatological darkness of the Old Testament, it is the first 
morning rays of the New Testament sun-rise which is already 
announcing itself. The Christian also here cannot refrain 
from leaping the barrier of the psalmists, and understanding 
the Psalms according to the mind of the Spirit whose pur- 
pose in the midst of the development of salvation and of the 
perception of it, is directed towards its goal and consum- 
mation. Thus understood tho Psalms are the hymns of 
the New Testament Israel as of the Old. The church by using 

Digitized by 



the language of the Psalms in supplication celebrates the 
unity of the two Testaments, and scholarship in expounding 
them honours their distinctiveness. Both are in the right; 
the former in regarding the Psalms in the light of the one 
great salvation, the latter in carefully distinguishing the eras 
in the history, and the steps in the perception, of this sal- 

Digitized by 




Cum consummaverit homo, tunc ineipiet, el cum qitieveri^ 
aporiabitur {novis aporiis urgebilur). 

Sir. ZTiii. 6 (applied by Augustine to tin 
expositor of the Psalter). 

Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Ps. I.-XLI. 



1 BLESSED is the man who walketh not in the counsel at 

the ungodly, 
And standeth not in the way of sinners, 
And sitteth not in the company of scorners, 

2 But his delight is in the Law of Jahve 

And in His Law doth he meditate day and night — 

3 And he is like a tree planted by the water-courses, 
Which bringeth forth its fruit in its season, 

And its leaf withereth not, 

And whatsoever he doeth, he carrieth through. 

4 Not thus are the ungodly, 

But they are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 

5 Therefore the ungodly cannot stand in the judgment, 
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 

6 For Jahve knoweth the way of the righteous, 
But the way of the ungodly perisheth. 

The collection of the Psalms and that of the prophecies 
of Isaiah resemble one another in the fact, that the one begins 
with a discourse that bears no superscription, and the other 



g2 PSALM I. 

with a Psalm of the same character; and these form the 
prologues to the two collections. From Acts xiii. 33, where 
the words: Thou art My Son . . . are quoted as being found 
4v t$ itpo>T<p <J>aX|i$, we see that in early times Ps. i. was re- 
garded as the prologue to the collection. The reading iv t$ 
<j*aXp.<i> t<j> Setnipcp, rejected by Griesbach, is an old correction. 
But this way of numbering the Psalms is based upon tradi- 
tion. A scholium from Origen and Eusebius says of Ps. i. 
andii.: iv -np'Eppoctxip oovTjupivoi, and just so Apollinaris: 

'EmYpoKp'js 4 <j»aXp.&? eupidi) 8tya, 
'Hvwpivot 84 toT? nap' 'Eppaioi? ort^oi?. 

For it is an old Jewish way of looking at it, as Albertus 
Magnus observes : Psalmus primus incipit a oeatitudine el ter- 
minalur a beatitudine, i. e. it begins with nt^N i. 1 and ends with 
nt^N ii. 12, so that consequently Ps. i. and ii., as is said in 
B. Berachoth 9b (cf. Jer. Taanith ii. 2), form one Psalm (tnn 
riB'-lB). As regards the subject-matter this is certainly not 
so. It is true Ps. i. and ii. coincide in some respects (in the 
former rum, in the latter lam; in the former naND * * "Jill, 
in the latter yn "PQWYi; in the former ntBto at the beginning, 
in the latter, at the end), but these coincidences of phraseo- 
logy are not sufficient to justify the conclusion of unity of 
authorship (Hitz.), much less that the two Psalms are so 
intimately connected as to form one whole. These two 
anonymous hymns are only so far related, as that the one 
is adapted to form the procemium of the Psalter from its 
ethical, the other from its prophetic character. The question, 
however, arises whether this was in the mind of the collector. 
Perhaps Ps. ii. is only attached to Ps. i. on account of those 
coincidences; Ps. i. being the proper prologue of the Psalter 
in its pentateuchal arrangement after the pattern of the 
Tora. For the Psalter is the Yea and Amen in the form 
of hymns to the word of God given in the Tora. Therefore 
it begins with a Psalm which contrasts the lot of him 
who loves the Tora with the lot of the ungodly, — an echo 
of that exhortation, Josh. i. 8, in which, after the death of 
Moses, Jahve charges his successor Joshua to do all that is 
written in the book of the Tora. As the New Testament 
sermon on the Mount, as a sermon on the spiritualized Law, 

Digitized by 



begins with paxapioi, so the Old Testament Psalter, directed 
entirely to the application of the Law to the inner life, begins 
with nttfN. The First book of the Psalms begins with two 
n#N i. 1, ii. 12, and closes with two ntP'K xl. 5, xli. 2. A 
number of Psalms begin with i"\U/H, Ps. xxxii. xli. cxii. 
cxix. cxxviii.; but we must not therefore suppose the existence 
of a special kind of asAre-psalms; for, e. g. y Ps. xxxii. is a 
^rcTO, Ps. cxii. a Hallelujah, Ps. cxxviii. a nib>J?DD "Vtf. 

As regards the time of the composition of the Psalm, 
we do not wish to lay any stress on the fact that 2 Chron. 
xxii. 5 sounds like an allusion to it. But 1st, it is earlier than 
the time of Jeremiah; for Jeremiah was acquainted with it. 
The words of curse and blessing, Jer. xvii. 5 — 8, are like an 
expository and embellished paraphrase of it. It is customary 
with Jeremiah to reproduce the prophecies of his prede- 
cessors, and more especially the words of the Psalms, in the 
flow of his discourse and to transform their style to his 
own. In the present instance the following circumstance 
also favours the priority of the Psalm: Jeremiah refers the 
curse corresponding to the blessing to Jehoiakim and thus 
applies the Psalm to the history of his own times. It is 2adly, 
not earlier than the time of Solomon. For E>xb occurring 
only here in the whole Psalter, a word which came into use, 
for the unbelievers, in the time of the Chokma (vid. the 
definition of the word, Prov. xxi. 24), points us to the time 
of Solomon and onwards. But since it contains no indica- 
tions of cotemporary history whatever, we give up the attempt 
to define more minutely the date of its composition, and say 
with St. Columba (against the reference of the Psalm to Joash 
the protege" of Jehoiada, which some incline to) : Non audiendi 
sunt hi, qui ad excludendam Psalmorum veram expositionem 
faisas similitudines ab historia petitas conantur inducere.* 

Vers. 1 — 3. The exclamatory nt^N, as also xxxii. 2, xl. 
5, Prov. viii. 34, has Gaja (Metheg) by the Aleph, and in some 

* vid. Zenss, Grammattca vctttca (1853) ii. 1065. The Commentary 
of Columba on the Psalms, with Irish explanations, and coming from 
the monastery of Bobbio, is among the treasures of the Ambrosiana. 

Digitized by 


84 PSALM I. 1—3. 

Codd. even a second by B*, because it is intended to be read 
ash're as an exception, on account of the significance of the 
word (Baer, in Coram, ii. 495). It is the construct of the plu- 
ralet. cntfN(from *iBto, cogn. -)#>, llg'D, to be straight, right, 
well-ordered), and always in the form HBte, even before the 
light suffixes (Olsh. § 135, c), as an exclamation: O the 
blessedness of so and so. The man who is characterised 
as blessed is first described according to the things he does 
not do, then (which is the chief thought of the whole Ps.) 
according to what he actually does: he is not a companion 
of the unrighteous , but he abides by the revealed word of 
God. Cjrttf") are the godless, whose moral condition is lax, 
devoid of stay, and as it were gone beyond the reasonable 
bounds of a true unity (wanting in stability of character), 
so that they are like a tossed and stormy sea, Isa. lvii. 20 
sq.;* CNtSP) (from the sing, noi, instead of which HJCh is 
usually found) sinners, dpap-ccoXoi, who pass their lives in 
sin, especially coarse and manifest sin; C)jb (from yh, as rip 
from niQ) scoffers, who make that which is divine, holy, and 
true a subject of frivolous jesting. The three appellations 
form a climax: impii corde, peccatores opere, illusores ore, in 
accordance with which nsj? (from yjp figere, statuere), resolu- 
tion, bias of the will, and thus way of thinking, is used in 
reference to the first, as in Job xxi. 16, xxii. 18; in reference 

* Nevertheless we have not to compare tf jn, tfcn, for Jfth, but the 
Arabic in the two roots **>\ and *»i shews for V?h the primary 
notion to be slack, loose, m opposition to <J)(X«0 p"W to be hard, firm, 

»•.-*•» i 

tight; as (jjO-«o *>«*» /. e. according to the Kamus yj-*** y*^ P*) 

yt*»x a hard, firm and straight spear. We too transfer the idea of being 

lax and loose to the province of ethics: the difference is only one of 
degree. The same two primary notions are also opposed to one another 

in speaking of the intellect: p-*- 3 * wise, prop, thick, firm, stoat, solid, 

.. » «• 
and ^aJ o ^mi foolish, simple, prop, thin, loose, without stay, like a bad 
piece of weaving, vid. Fleischer's translation of Samachschari's Golden 
Necklace pp. 2ti and 27 Anm. 76. Thus ]>tn means the loose man and 
indeed as a moral-religious notion loose from God, godless [comp. Bibt, 
Psychol, p. 189. transl.]. 

Digitized by 


PSALM I. 1—3. 85 

to the second, Tj~i" mode of conduct, action, life; in reference 
to the third, 2B1D which like the Arabic meglis signifies both 
seat (Job xxix. 7) and assembling (cvii. 32), be it official or 
social (cf. xxvi. 4 sq., Jer. xv. 17). On 2 rfyn, in an ethical 
sense, cf. Mic. vi. 16, Jer. vii. 24. Therefore: Blessed is he 
who does not walk in the state of mind which the ungodly 
cherish, much less that he should associate with the vicious 
life of sinners, or even delight in the company of those 
•who scoff at religion. The description now continues with 
CK *2 (imo si, Ges. § 155, 2, i): but (if) his delight is, — 
(substantival instead of the verbal clause:) he delights (ysn 
cf. (jaijo f. i. with the primary notion of firmly adhering, 
vid. on Job xl. 17) in 71 rnin, the teaching of Jahve, which 
is become Israel's vojto?, rule of life; in this he meditates 
profoundly by day and night (two ace. with the old accu- 
sative terminations am and ah). The perff. in ver. 1 de- 
scribe what he all along has never done, the fut. fljirv, what 

he is always striving to do; nan of a deep (cf. JJjd depres- 

$um esse), dull sound, as if vibrating between within and 
without, here signifies the quiet soliloquy (cf. y^jsajc mussi- 
tando secum loqui) of one who is searching and thinking. 

With irni,* in ver. 3, the development of the i")Wn now be- 
gins; it is the pr ait. consec. he becomes in consequence of this, 
he is thereby, like a tree planted beside the water-courses, 
which yields its fruit at the proper season and its leaf does 
not fall off. In distinction from jtftM , according to Jalkut 
§ 614, ^intf means firmly planted, so that no winds that 
may rage around it are able to remove it from its place 
(impOD inK pPJD p«). In 0>D r^D, both D^D and the plur. 
6erve to give intensity to the figure; aijQ (Arab, fal'g, from 
3t»s to divide, Job xxxviii. 25) means the brook meandering 

* Bj the Sheba stands Melheg (Gaja\ as it does wherever a word, 
with She b& in the first syllable, has Olemejored, Rebia magnum , or Decht 
without a conjunctive preceding, in case at least one vowel and no Melheg 
— except perhaps that standing before Sheba compos. — lies between 
the Sheba and the tone, e. g. njJPM (with Decht) ii. 3, V\i]jt*\ xci. 15 
snd the like. The intonation of the accent is said in these instances to 
begin, by anticipation, with the fugitive i. 

Digitized by 


46 PSALM I. 1—3. 

and cleaving its course for itself through the soil and stones; 
the plur. denotes either one brook regarded from its abun- 
dance of water, or even several which from different direc- 
tions supply the tree with nourishing and refreshing mois- 
ture. In the relative clause the whole emphasis does not 
rest on 1PJ/3 (Calvin : impii, licet preecoces fructus ostentent, 
nihil tamen producunt nisi abortivum), but V)Q is the first, 
Wya the second tone- word: the fruit which one expects from 
it, it yields (equivalent to iityjP it produces, elsewhere), and 
that at its appointed, proper time (— irnya, for njf is — ITTJJ 
or nn^, like rrn, rnb, from tjn), without ever disappointing 
that hope in the course of the recurring seasons. The clause 
^12? tib in^JTi is the other half of the relative clause: and 
its foliage does not fall off or wither (baj like the synon. 
Jo6, from the root ^>a). 

The green foliage is an emblem of faith, which converts 
the water of life of the divine word into sap and strength, 
and the fruit, an emblem of works, which gradually ripen 
and scatter their blessings around; a tree that has lost 
its leaves, does not bring its fruit to maturity. It is only 
with bb), where the language becomes unemblematic, that 
the man who loves the Law of God again becomes the direct 
subject. The accentuation treats this member of the verse as 
the third member of the relative clause; one may, however, 
say of a thriving plant n^s, but not rr^sn. This ffiph. (from 
rf?S, ^JLo , to divide, press forward, press through, vid. xlv. 

5) signifies both causative: to cause anything to go through, 
or prosper (Gen. xxxiv. 23), and transitive: to carry through, 
and intransitive: to succeed, prosper (Judg. xviii. 5). With 
the first meaning, Jahve would be the subject; with the 
third, the project of the righteous; with the middle one, the 
righteous man himself. This last is the most natural: every- 
thing he takes in hand he brings to a successful issue (an 
expression like 2 Chron. vii. 11, xxxi. 21, Dan. viii. 24). What 
a richly flowing brook is to the tree that is planted on its 
bank, such is the word of God to him who devotes himself to 
it: it makes him, according to his position and calling, ever 
fruitful in good and well-timed deeds and keeps him fresh 

Digitized by 


PSALM I. 4—6. 87 

in his inner and outward life, and whatsoever such an one 
undertakes, he brings to a successful issue, for the might of 
the word and of the blessing of God is in his actions. 

Vers. 4 — 6. The ungodly (O^tf-in, with the demonstra- 
tive art.) are the opposite of a tree planted by the water- 
courses : they are yb3, like chaff (from pD to press out), 
which the wind drives away, viz. from the loftily situated 
threshing-floor (Isa. xvii. 13), t. e. without root below, without 
fruit above , devoid of all the vigour and freshness of life, 
lying loose upon the threshing-floor and a prey of the slight- 
est breeze, — thus utterly worthless and unstable. With 
\3~bv. &n inference is drawn from this moral characteristic of 
the ungodly: just on account of their inner worthlessness and 
instability they do not stand tOCBto?. This is the word for 
the judgment of just recompense to which God brings 
each individual man and all without exception with all their 
works (Eccl. xii. 14), — His righteous government, which 
takes cognisance of the whole life of each individual and 
the history of nations and recompenses according to desert. 
In this judgment the ungodly cannot stand (dp to continue 
to stand, like "icj; cxxx. 3 to keep one's self erect), nor 
sinners D , p v TC JT1J73. The congregation (rn$J — "idah, from 
*ljn, 1JP) of the righteous is the congregation of Jahvo 
(71 rnjj), which, according to its nature which is ordained 
and inwrought by God, is a congregation of the righteous, 
to which consequently the unrighteous belong only out- 
wardly and visibly: oii -yip n&vzei ol i&'IoparjX, outoi'IapowjX, 
Rom. ix. 6. God's judgment, when and wheresoever he may 
hold it, shall trace back this appearance to its nothingness. 
When the time of the divine decision shall come, which also 
separates outwardly that which is now inwardly separate, viz. 
righteous and unrighteous, wheat and chaff, then shall the 
unrighteous be driven away like chaff before the storm, and 
their temporary prosperity, which had no divine roots, come 
to a fearful end. For Jahve knoweth the way of the righ- 
teous, jnV as in xxxvii. 18, Mat. vii. 23, 2 Tim. ii. 19, and 
frequently. What is intended is, as the schoolmen say, a nosse 
eon affectu et effectu, a knowledge which is in living, intimate 
relationship to its subject and at the same time is inclined 

Digitized by 



to it and bound to it by love. The way, i. e. the life's course, 
of the righteous has God as its goal ; God knows this way, 
which on this very account also unfailingly reaches its goal. 
On the contrary, the way of the ungodly "Dtfn, perishes, 
because left to itself, — goes down to jlTDN, loses itself, 
without reaching the goal set before it, in darkest night. The 
way of the righteous only is dfly YT3» CXX3 " X * 24, a wav 
that ends in eternal life. Ps. cxii. which begins with ntS'M 
ends with the same fearful 13 Kn. 



1 WHY do the people rage, 

And the nations imagine a vain thing?! 

2 The kings of the earth rise in rebellion, 
And the rulers take counsel together — 
Against Jahve and against His Anointed. 

S "Up 1 let us burst their bands asunder, 
And cast away their cords from us!" 

4 He who is enthroned in the heavens laughs, 
The Lord hath them in derision. 

5 Then shall He speak to them in His wrath, 
And thunder them down in His hot displeasure: 

6 " — And yet have I set My King 
Upon Zion, My holy hill." 

(The Divine King:) 

7 "I will speak concerning a decree! 
Jahve saith unto me: Thou art My Son, 
This day have I begotten Thee. 

8 Demand of Me, and I will give Thee the nations for 

Thine inheritance, 
And the ends of the earth for Thy possession. 

9 Thou shalt break them with an iron sceptre, 

Like a potter's vessel shalt Thou dash them in pieces." 

Digitized by 



10 And now, ye kings, be wise, 

Be admonished, ye judges of the earth 1 

11 Serve Jahve with fear , 
And rejoice with trembling. 

12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and ye perish, 
For His wrath may kindle suddenly — 
Blessed are all they who hide in Him! 

The didactic Ps. i. which began with ntfN, is now fol- 
lowed by a prophetic Psalm, which closes with n#N. It coin- 
cides also in other respects with Ps. i., but still more with 
Psalms of the earlier time of the kings (lix. 9, lxxxiii. 3 — 9) 
and with Isaiah's prophetic style. The rising of the con- 
federate nations and their rulers against Jahve and His 
Anointed will be dashed to pieces against the imperturbable 
all-conquering power of dominion, which Jahve has entrusted 
to His King set upon Zion, His Son. This is the fundamental 
thought, which is worked out with the vivid directness of 
dramatic representation. The words of the singer and seer 
begin and end the Psalm. The rebels, Jahve, and His Anoint- 
ed come forward, and speak for themselves ; but the frame- 
work is formed by the composer's discourse, which, like the 
chorus of the Greek drama, expresses the reflexions and 
feelings which are produced on the spectators and hearers. 
The poem before us is not purely lyric. The personality of 
the poet is kept in the back-ground. The Lord's Anointed 
who speaks in the middle of the Psalm is not the anonymous 
poet himself. It may, however, be a king of the time, who is 
here regarded in the light of the Messianic promise, or that 
King of the future, in whom at a future period the mission 
of the Davidic kingship in the world shall be fulfilled: at 
all events this Lord's Anointed comes forward with the divine 
power and glory, with which the Messiah appears in the 

The Psalm is anonymous. For this very reason we may 
not assign it to David (Hofm.) nor to Solomon (Ew.); for 
nothing is to be inferred from Acts iv. 25, since in the New 
Testament "hymn of David" and "psalm" are co-ordinate 
ideas, and it is always far more hazardous to ascribe an 

Digitized by 

Google ^ 

90 rSALM II. 

anonymous Psalm to David or Solomon, than to deny to ono 
inscribed int> or rxbvfh direct authorship from David or Solo- 
mon. But the subject of the Psalm is neither David (Kurtz) no r 
Solomon (Bleek). It might be David, for in his reign there is 
at least one coalition of the peoples like that from which our 
Psalm takes its rise, vid. 2 Sam. x. 6: on the contrary it 
cannot be Solomon, because in his reign, though troubled 
towards its close (1 Kings xi. 14 sqq.), no such event occurs, 
but would then have to be inferred to have happened from this 
Psalm. We might rather guess at Uzziah (Meier) or Hezekiah 
(Maurer), both of whom inherited the kingdom in a weakened 
condition and found the neighbouring peoples alienated from 
the house of David. The situation might correspond to these 
times, for the rebellious peoples , which are brought before 
us, have been hitherto subject to Jahve and His Anointed. 
But all historical indications which might support the one 
supposition or the other are wanting. If the God-anointed 
one, who speaks in ver. 7, were the psalmist himself, we 
should at least know the Psalm was composed by a king 
filled with a lofty Messianic consciousness. But the dramatic 
movement of the Psalm up to the Dnyi (ver. 10) which follows, 
is opposed to such an identification of the God-anointed 
one with the poet. But that Alexander Jannseus (Hitz.), 
that blood-thirsty ruler, so justly hated by his people, who 
inaugurated his reign by fratricide, may be both at the same 
time, is a supposition which turns the moral and covenant 
character of the Psalm into detestable falsehood. The Old 
Testament knows no kingship to which is promised the domi- 
nion of the world and to which sonship is ascribed (2 Sam. 
vii. 14, Ps. lxxxix. 28), but the Davidic. The events of his own 
time, which influenced the mind of the poet, are no longer 
clear to us. But from these he is carried away into those 
tumults of the peoples which shall end in all kingdoms 
becoming the kingdom of God and of His Christ (Apoc. xi. 
15, xii. 10). 

In the New Testament this Psalm is cited more frequently 
than any other. According to Acts iv. 25 — 28, vers. 1 and 
2 have been fulfilled in the confederate hostility of Israel 
and the Gentiles against Jesus the holy servant of God and 

Digitized by 


PSALM II. 1—3. 91 

against His confessors. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, Fs. ox. 
and ii. stand side by side, the former as a witness of the eternal 
priesthood of Jesus after the order of Melchisedek, the latter 
as a witness of His sonship, which is superior to that of the 
angels. Paul teaches us in Acts xiii. 33, comp. Rom. i. 4, 
how the "to-day" is to be understood. The "to-day" accord- 
ing to its proper fulfilment, is the day of Jesus' resurrection. 
Born from the dead to the life at the right hand of God, 
He entered on this day, which the church therefore calls dies 
regalis, upon His eternal kingship. 

The New Testament echo of this Psalm however goes still 
deeper and further. The two names of the future One in 
use in the time of Jesus, 6 Xpitrei; and 6 uii« too Oeou, John 
i. 50, Mat. xxvi. 63 (in the mouth of Nathanael and of the 
High Priest) refer back to this Ps. and Dan. ix. 25 , just as 
6 oli« too dvdpconoo incontrovertibly refers to Ps. viii. 5 and 
Dan. vii. 13. The view maintained by De Wette and Hupfeld, 
that the Psalm is not applicable to the Christian conceptions 
of the Messiah, seems almost as though these were to be 
gauged according to the authoritative utterances of the pro- 
fessorial chair and not according to the language of the 
Apostles. Even in the Apocalypse, ch. xix. 15, xii. 5, Jesus 
appears exactly as this Psalm represents Him, as itotjuuvwv 
xa I8v7| <Lv £aps«p aiSTjpq. The office of the Messiah is not only 
that of Saviour but also of Judge. Redemption is the begin- 
ning and the judgment the end of His work. It is to this 
end that the Psalm refers. The Lord himself frequently re- 
fers in the Gospels to the fact of His bearing side by side 
with the sceptre of peace and the shepherd's staff, the sceptre 
of iron also, Mat. xxiv. 50 sq. , xxi. 44, Luke xix. 27. The 
day of His coming is indeed a day of judgment — the great 
day of the opfJj too 6y v ' ' j > Apoc. vi. 17, before whicb the 
ultra-spiritual Messianic creations of enlightened exegetes 
will melt away, just as the carnal Messianic hopes of the 
Jews did before His first coming. 

Vers. 1 — 3. The Psalm begins with a seven line strophe, 
ruled by an interrogative Wherefore. The mischievous under- 

Digitized by 


92 PSALM II. 1—3. 

taking condemns itself. It it groundless and fruitless. This 
certainty is expressed, with a tinge of involuntary astonish- 
ment, in the question, iia^ followed by a prat, enquires the 
ground of such lawlessness: wherefore have the peoples 
banded together so tumultuously (Aquila: £0opt>p7)9ijoav)? 
and followed by a fut., the aim of this ineffectual action: 
wherefore do they imagine emptiness? pn might be adverbial 
and equivalent to pni?, but it is here, as in iv. 3, a govern* 
ed accusative; for nan which signifies in itself only quiet 
inward musing and yearning, expressing itself by a dull 
muttering (here: something deceitful, as in xxxviii. 13), 
requires an object. By this pn the involuntary astonishment 
of the question justifies itself: to what purpose is this empty 
affair, i. e. devoid of reason and continuance? For the psalm- 
ist, himself a subject and member of the divine kingdom, 
is too well acquainted with Jahve and His Anointed not to 
recognise beforehand the unwarrantableness and impotency 
of such rebellion. That these two things are kept in view, 
is implied by ver. 2, which further depicts the position 
of affairs without being subordinated to the T\ch. The fut. 
describes what is going on at the present time: they set 
themselves in position, they take up a defiant position (222nn 
as in 1 Sam. xvii. 16), after which we again (comp. the re- 
verse order in lxxxiii. 6) have a transition to the perf. which 
is the more uncoloured expression of the actual : IDU (with 
"IPP as the exponent of reciprocity) prop, to press close and 

firm upon one another, then (like 5jLl, which, according to 
the correct observation of the Turkish Ramus, in its signi- 
fication clam cum aliquo locutus est, starts from the very same 
primary meaning of pressing close to any object): to delibe- 
rate confidentially together (as xxxi. 14 and yjflj lxxi. 10). 
The subjects yiN-obg and 0>JJ1*1 (according to the Arabic 
razuna, to be weighty: the grave, dignitaries, oejxvof, augusti) 
are only in accordance with the poetic style without the ar- 
ticle. It is a general rising of the people of the earth against 
Jahve and His CPtt'D, Xpior6;, the king anointed by Him by 
means of the holy oil and most intimately allied to Him. 
The psalmist hears (ver. 3) the decision of the deliberating 

Digitized by 


PSALM II. 4—6. 93 

princes. The pathetic suff. imb instead of ehim refers back 
to Jahve and His Anointed. The cohortatives express the 
mutual kindling of feeling; the sound and rhythm of the ex- 
clamation correspond to the dull murmur of hatred and 
threatening defiance: the rhythm is iambic, and then ana- 
paestic. First they determine to break asunder the fetters 
(nriDlO — nnptfo) to which the riN, which is significant in 
the poetical style, points, then to cast away the cords from 
them (l3fip a nobis, this is the Palestinian mode of writing, 
whereas the Babylonians said and wrote 1JOD a nobis in dis- 
tinction from 13a p ab eo, B. Sota 35 a) partly with the vexation 
of captives, partly with the triumph of freedmen. They are, 
therefore, at present subjects of Jahve and His Anointed, 
and not merely because the whole world is Jahve's, but 
because He has helped His Anointed to obtain dominion 
over them. It is a battle for freedom, upon which they are 
entering, but a freedom that is opposed to God. 

Vers. 4 — 6. Above the scene of this wild tumult of battle 
and imperious arrogance the psalmist in this six line strophe 
beholds Jahve, and in spirit hears His voice of thunder against 
the rebels. In contrast to earthly rulers and events Jahve 
is called DV3t£a 3B/1> • He is enthroned above them in unap- 
proachable majesty and ever -abiding glory; He is called 
tfix as He who controls whatever takes place below with ab- 
solute power according to the plan His wisdom has devised, 
which brooks no hindrance in execution. The futt. describe 
not what He will do, but what He does continually (cf. Isa. 
xviii. 4 sq.). 10^ also belongs, according to lix. 9, xxxvii. 
13, to pTW\ (pntP which is more usual in the post-pentateu- 
chal language — pns). He laughs at the defiant ones, for be- 
tween them and Him there is an infinite distance; He derides 
them by allowing the boundless stupidity of the infinitely little 
one to come to a climax and then He thrusts him down to the 
earth undeceived. This climax, the extreme limit of the 
divine forbearance, is determined by the in, as in Deut. xxix. 
19, cf. EB>xiv. 5, xxxvi. 13, which is a "then" referring to the 
future and pointing towards the crisis which then supervenes. 
Then He begins at once to utter the actual language of His 
wrath to his foes and confounds them in the heat of His 

Digitized by 


94 PSALM II. 7—9. 

anger, disconcerts them utterly, both outwardly and in spirit. 
'^t> J^p» cogn. fi^3, means orginally to let loose, let go, 
then in Hebrew sometimes, externally, to overthrow, some- 
times, of the mind, to confound and disconcert. 

Ver. 5 a is like a peal of thunder (cf. Isa. x. 33) ; Wins, 
5&, like the lightning's destructive flash. And as the first 
strophe closed with the words of the rebels, so this second 
closes with Jahve's own words. With >Ki begins an adverbial 
clause like Gen. xv. 2, xviii. 13, Ps. 1. 17. The suppressed 
principal clause (cf. Isa. iii. 14; Ew. § 341, c) is easily sup- 
plied: ye are revolting, whilst notwithstanding I . . . With 
13N1 He opposes His irresistible will to their vain untertaking. 
It has been shewn by Bottcher, that we must not translate 
"I have anointed" (Targ., Symm.). tjdj, dLo, certainly means 
to pour out, but not to pour upon, and the meaning of pour- 
ing wide and firm (of casting metal, libation, anointing) 
then, as in a^sn, p^n, goes over into the meaning of setting 
firmly in any place (/under e into fundare, constituere, as 
LXX., Syr., Jer., and Luther translate), so that consequently 
~'D3 the word for prince cannot be compared with irBto, 
but with 3>s:.* The Targum rightly inserts FPrWDl (et pre- 
fect eum) after 'ITS! (unxi), for the place of the anointing is 
not )1*y7}>. History makes no mention of a king of Israel 
being anointed on Zion. Zion is mentioned as the royal seat 
of the Anointed One; there He is installed, that He may 
reign there, and rule from thence, ex. 2. It is the hill of tha 
city of David (2 Sam. v. 7, 9, 1 Kings viii. 1) including Mo- 
riah, that is intended. That hill of holiness, i. e. holy hill, 
which is the resting-place of the divine presence and there- 
fore excels all the heights of the earth, is assigned to Him 
as the seat of His throne. 

* Even the Jalkut on the Psalms, § 620, wavers in the explanation 
of TDM between fVntTCDN I have anointed him, (after Dan. x. 3), 
nVDTIN I have cast him (after Exod. xxxii. 4 and freq.), andivfru I have 
made him great (after Hie. v. 4). Aquila, by rendering it xol 48iao4(j.Tjv 
(from 8td»eo8ai— 6<pa(veiv), adds a fourth possible rendering. A fifth is T]D3 
to pnrify, consecrate (Hits.), which does not exist, for the Arabic nasakm 
obtains this meaning from the primary signification of cleansing by flood- 
ing with water («. g. washing away the briny elements of a field). Also 
In Prov. viii. 23 TOO) means I am cast ■= placed. 

Digitized by 


PSALM II. 7—0. 95 

Vers. 7 — 9. The Anointed One himself now speaks and 
expresses what he is, and is able to do, by virtue of the 
divine decree. No transitional word or formula of introduc- 
tion denotes this sudden transition from the speech of Jahve 
to that of His Christ. The psalmist is the seer: his Psalm 
is the mirrored picture of what he saw and the echo of what 
he heard. As Jahve in opposition to the rebels acknow- 
ledges the king upon Zion, so the king on Zion appeals to 
Him in opposition to the rebels. The name of God, T\\T\\, 
has Rebia magnum and, on account of the compass of the full 
intonation of this accent, a Gaja by the Shebd (comp. >ribt< 
xxv. 2, O^N lxviii. 8, >J"N xc. 1).* The construction of 
*l£D with ?N (as lxix. 27, comp. "icx Gen. xx. 2, Jer. xxvii. 
19, ian 2 Chron. xxxii. 19, jTHin Isa. xxxviii. 19): to narrate 
or make an announcement with respect to ... is minute, and 
therefore solemn. Self-confident and fearless, he can and will 
oppose to those, who now renounce their allegiance to him, 
a pn, i- e. an authentic, inviolable appointment, which can 
neither be changed nor shaken. All the ancient versions, 
with the exception of the Syriac, read mrvpfl together. The 
line of the strophe becomes thereby more symmetrical, but 
the expression loses in force. ph~^N rightly has Olewejored. 
It is the amplificative use of the noun when it is not more 
precisely determined, known in Arabic grammar: such a 
decree ! majestic as to its author and its matter. Jahve has 
declared to Him: P.RN '32,** and that on the definite day 

»/r •: * 

* We may observe here, in general, that this Gaja (Methey) which 
draws the Shebd into the intonation is placed even beside words with the 
lesser distinctives Zinnor and Rebia parvum only by the Masorete Ben- 
Jfaphtali, not by Ben-Asher (both abont 950 A. D.). This is a point which 
has not been observed throughout even in Baer's edition of the Psalter, 
•o that consequently e. g. in v. 11 it is to be written DVpN^; in vL 2 
on the other hand (with DecM) ffl.rp,, not iVnv 

** Even in panse here TlPi* remains without a lengthened a {Psalter 
ii. 468), but the word is become Milel, while out of pause, according 
to Ben-Asher, it is Milra; but even out of pause (as in lzxxix. 10, 12, 
zc. 2) it is accented on the penult, by Ben-Naphtali. The Athnach of 
the books DND (Ps., Job, Prov.), corresponding to the Zakeph of the 21 
other books, has only a half pausal power, and as a rule none at all 
where it follows Olewejored, cf. ix. 7, xiv. 4, xxv. 7, xxvii. 4, xxxi 14, 
xxxv, 15, Ac. (Baer, Thoratk Emeth p. 37). 

Digitized by 


96 PSALM II. 7—9. 

on which He has begotten or born him into this relationship 
of son. The verb "i^j (with the changeable vowel »*) unites in 
itself, like; f svvSv, the ideas of begetting and bearing (LXX. 
feYewTjxa, Aq. e-rexov) ; what is intended is an operation of 
divine power exalted above both, and indeed, since it refers to 
a setting up (lDJ) in the kingship, the begetting into a royal 
existence, which takes place in and by tbe act of anointing 
(ntS'D). Whether it be David, or a son of David, or the 
other David, that is intended, in any case 2 Sam. vii. is to be 
accounted as the first and oldest proclamation of this decree; 
for there David, with reference to his own anointing, and 
at the same time with the promise of everlasting dominion, 
receives the witness of the eternal sonship to which Jahve haa 
appointed the seed of David in relation to Himself as Father, 
so that David and his seed can say to Jahve: DF.K 'IJN, Thou 
art my Father, lxxxix. 27, as Jahve can to him: nriN '33, Thou 
art My son. From this sonship of the Anointed one to Jahve, 
the Creator and Possessor of the world, flows His claim to 
and expectation of the dominion of the world. The cohor- 
tative, natural after challenges, follows upon bw', Ges. 
§ 128, 1. Jahve has appointed the dominion of the world 
to His Son: on His part therefore it needs only the desire for 
it, to appropriate to Himself that which is allotted to Him. 
He needs only to be willing, and that He is willing is shewn 
by His appealing to the authority delegated to Him by Jahve 
against the rebels. This authority has a supplement in ver. 
9, which is most terrible for the rebellious ones. The suff". 
refer to the CM, the eOvtj, sunk in heathenism. For these his 
sceptre of dominion (ex. 2) becomes a rod of iron, which will 
shatter them into a thousand pieces like a brittle image of 
clay (Jer. xix. 11). With yBi alternates J7jn (= fjn fr anger e) y 
fut. l£T}\ whereas the LXX. (Syr., Jer.), which renders itoi- 
jj-avEt? autou« ev £d(38<j> (as 1 Cor. iv. 21) oifrqp^, points it 
Cinn from run. The staff of iron, according to the Hebrew 
text the instrument of punitive power, becomes thus with 

• The changeable »' goes back either to a primary form^>, tfv,^NT£ 
or it originates directly from Palliach ; forms like HI *h} and IfWtf favour 
the former, e in a closed syllable generally going over into Scgol favour* 
the latter. 

Digitized by 


rSAJLM IL 10—12. 97 

reference to D3tf as the shepherd's staff xxiii. 4, Mic. vii. 14, 
an instrument of despotism. 

Vers. 10 — 12. The poet closes with a practical applica- 
tion to the great of the earth of that which he has seen and 
heard. With nFUJl, xat viiv (1 John ii. 28), itaque, appro- 
priate conclusions are drawn from some general moral mat- 
ter of fact (e. g. Prov. v. 7) or some fact connected with 
the history of redemption (e. g. Isa. xxviii. 22). The exhor- 
tation is not addressed to those whom he has seen in a 
state of rebellion, hut to kings in general with reference to 
what he has prophetically seen and heard. yy$ itJEB* are 
not those who judge the earth, but the judges, i. e. rulers 
(Amos ii. 3, cf. i. 8), belonging to the earth, throughout 
its length or breadth. The Hiph. ^>3fc>ri signifies to shew 
intelligence or discernment; the Niph. "ictt as a so-called 
Niph. tolerativum, to let one's self be chastened or instructed, 
like pfij Prov. xiii. 10, to allow one's self to be advised, \tff[2 
Ezek. xiv. 3, to allow one's self to be sought, KXDJ to allow 
one's self to be found, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9, and frequently. This 
general call to reflection is followed, in ver. 11, by a special 
exhortation in reference to Jahve, and in ver. 12, in reference 
to the Son. n3JJ and &} answer to each other: the latter 
is not according to Hos. x. 5 in the sense of 'pTl xcvi. 9, 
but, — since "to shake with trembling" (Hitz.) is a tauto- 
logy, and as an imperative l^j everywhere else signifies: 
rejoice, — according to c. 2, in the sense of rapturous 
manifestation of joy at the happiness and honour of being 
permitted to be servants of such a God. The LXX. correctly 
renders it: dfaXXiao&a au-c<j>£v xp6jx<p. Their rejoicing, in order 
that it may not run to the excess of security and haughti- 
ness, is to be blended with trembling (3 as Zeph. iii. 17), 
viz. with the trembling of reverence and self-control, for God 
is a consuming fire, Hebr. xii. 28. 

The second exhortation, which now follows, having refer- 
ence to their relationship to the Anointed One, has been 
missed by all the ancient versions except the Syriac, as 
though its clearness had blinded the translators, since they 
render "13, either 13 purity, chastity, discipline (LXX., 
Targ., Ital., Vulg.), oris pure, unmixed (Aq., Symm., Jer.: 
vol. i 7 

Digitized by 


98 P8ALM II. 10—12. 

adorate pu*e); Thus also Hupfeld renders it "yield sincerely", 
whereas it is rendered by Ewald "receive wholesome warn- 
ing", and by Hitzig "submit to duty" (n; like the Arabic 
birr — is); Olshausen even thinks, there may be some mis- 
take in 13, and Diestel decides for 12 instead of 13. But the 
context and the usage of the language require osculamini 
filium. The Piel pssti means to kiss, and never anything else; 
and while *D in Hebrew means purity and nothing more, and 
"13 as an adverb, pure, cannot be supported, nothing is more 
natural here, after Jahve has acknowledged His Anointed 
One as His Son, than that -q (Prov. xxxi. 2, even vp — "03) 
— which has nothing strange about it when found in solemn 
discourse, and here helps one over the dissonance of ]Q |3 — 
should, in a like absolute manner to pft, denote the unique 
son, and in fact the Son of God.* The exhortation to sub- 
mit to Jahve is followed, as Aben-Ezra has observed, by the 
exhortation to do homage to Jahve's Son. To kiss is equiva- 
lent to to do homage. Samuel kisses Saul (1 Sam. x. 1), saying 
that thereby he does homage to him. 1 "* 

The subject to what follows is now, however, not the Son, 
but Jahve. It is certainly at least quite as natural to the New 
Testament consciousness to refer "lest He be angry" to the 
Son (vid. Apoc. vi. 16 sq.), and since the warning against 
putting trust (niDH) in princes, cxviii. 9, cxlvi. 3, cannot 
be applied to the Christ of God, the reference of 13 to Him 
(Hengst.) cannot be regarded as impossible. But since iiDPI 
3 is the usual word for taking confiding refuge in Jahve, and 

* Apart from the fact of 13 not having the article, its indefinitenet «• 
comes under the point of view of that which, because it combines with 
it the idea of the majestic, great, and terrible, is called by the Arabian 
grammarians pikmvl oJuuJI or y^iSuii or Ju«^aJ ; by the bound- 
lessness which lies in it it challenges the imagination to magnify the 
notion which it thus expresses. An Arabic expositor wonld here (as ii 
ver. 7 above) render it "Kiss a son and such a son!" (vid. Ibn Hish&m ii 
De Sacy's Anthol. Grammat. p. a«, where it is to be translated hie est vir 
qua/is vir!). Examples which support this doctrine are "P,2 Isa. xxviii. 1 
by a hand, vix. God's almighty hand which is the hand of hands, and 
Isa. xxxi. 8 31£HJ|'D before a sword, via. the divine sword which brook* 
no opposing weapon. 

* On this vid. Scacchi Myrothecium, t. iii. (1637) e. 35. 

Digitized by 


PSALM II. 10—12. 99 

the future day of wrath is always referred to in the Old 
Testament (e. g. ex. 5) as the day of the wrath of God, we re- 
fer the tie irascatur to Him whose son the Anointed One is; 
therefore it is to be rendered: lest Jahve be angry and ye 
perish Tjin. This "-fT?. is the accus. of more exact definition. 
If the way of any one perish, i. 6, he himself is lost with 
regard to the way, since this leads him into the abyss. It is 
questionable whether 133203 means "for a little" in the sense of 
brevi or facile. The usus loquendi and position of the words 
favour the latter (Hupf.). Everywhere else Djy?3 means by 
itself (without such additions as in Ezr. ix. 8, Isa. xxvi. 20, 
Ezek. xvi. 47) "for a little, nearly, easily." At least this 
meaning is secured to it when it occurs after hypothetical 
antecedent clauses as in lxxxi. 15, 2 Sam. xix. 37, Job xxxii. 
22. Therefore it is to be rendered: for His wrath might 
kindle easily, or might kindle suddenly. The poet warns the 
rulers in their own highest interest not to challenge the 
wrathful zeal of Jahve for His Christ, which according to 
ver. 5 is inevitable. Well is it with all those who have 
nothing to fear from this outburst of wrath, because they 
hide themselves in Jahve as their refuge. The construct 
state 'Din connects 12, without a genitive relation, with itself 
as forming together one notion, Ges. § 116, 1. ncn the usual 
word for fleeing confidingly to Jahve, means according to 
its radical notion not so much refugere, eonfugere, as se 
abdere, condere, and is therefore never combined with ^tt, 
but always with 2. * 

* On old names of towns, which this ancient flDn shews, tid. Wetz- 
ctein's remark on Job xziv. 8 [ii. p. 22 n. 2]. The Arabic still has n-r- 
in the reference of the primary meaning to water which, sucked in and 
hidden, flows under the sand and only comes to sight on digging. The 
rocky bottom on which it collects beneath the surface of the sand and 

by which it is prevented from oosing away or drying up is called w^- 
ha*& or w <>- *M & hiding-place or place of protection, and a foun- 
tain dug there is called ^*wJ»l yjMb* 


Digitized by 


100 PSALM Ilf. 



2 JAHVE, how many are my oppressors! 
Many rise up against me, 

3 Many say of my soul: 

•There is no help for him in God". (Sela) 

4 But Thou, Jahve, art a shield for me, 
My glory and the lifter up of my head. 

5 I cried unto Jahve with my voice 

And He answered me from His holy hill. (Sela) 

6 I laid me down, and slept; 

I awaked, for Jahve sustaineth me. 

7 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of the people 
Who have set themselves against me round about. 

8 Arise, Jahve, help me, my God! 

For Thou smitest all mine enemies on the cheek, 
Thou breakest the teeth of the ungodly. 

9 To Jahve belongeth salvation — 

Upon Thy people be Thy blessing! (Sela) 

The two Psalms forming the prologue, which treat of 
cognate themes, the one ethical, from the standpoint of the 
DDDPl , and the other related to the history of redemption 
from the standpoint of the nfcOSJ, are now followed by a 
morning prayer; for morning and evening prayers are surely 
the first that one expects to find in a prayer- and hymn- 
book. The morning hymn, Ps. iii., which has the mention of 
the "holy hill* in common with Ps. ii., naturally precedes 
the evening hymn Ps. iv.; for that Ps. iii. is an evening hymn 
as some are of opinion, rests on grammatical misconception. 

With Ps. iii., begin, as already stated, the hymns arran- 
ged for music. By -|V^> "llDTD, a Psalm of David, the hymn 
which follows is marked as one designed for musical ac- 
companiment. Since *)lois occurs exclusively in the inscrip- 
tions of the Psalms , it is no doubt a technical expression 
coined by David. IDJ (root Dt) is an onomatopoetic word, 
which in Kal signifies to cut off, and in fact to prune or lop 

Digitized by 



(the vine) (cf. Arabic ov to write, from the buzzing noise 
of the style or reed on the writing material). The significa- 
tion of singing and playing proper to the Piel are not con- 
nected with the signification "to nip". For neithertherhyth- 
mical division (Schultens) nor the articulated speaking (Hitz.) 
furnish a probable explanation, since the caesura and syllable 
are not natural but artificial notions, nor also the nipping 
of the strings (Bottch., Ges.), for which the language has 
coined the word jjj (of like root with jttJ). Moreover, the 
earliest passages in which rnot and ")»] occur (Gen. xliii. 
11, Exod. xv. 2, Judges v. 3), speak rather of song than 
music and both words frequently denote song in distinction 
from music, e. g. xcviii. 5, lxxxi. 3, cf. Cant. ii. 12. Also, 
if 18} originally means, like <J»4XXeiv, carpere (pulsate) fides, 
such names of instruments as Arab, zetnr the hautboy and 
zummdra the pipe would not be formed. But "lai means, as 
Hupfeld has shewn, as indirect an onomatope as canere, "to 
make music" in the widest sense; the more accurate usage 
of the language, however, distinguishes ief and Ttf as to 
play and to sing. With 3 of the instrument "ibt denotes song 
with musical accompaniment (like the JEthiopic IDT instru- 
mento canere) and rnD? (Aram, lot) is sometimes, as in Amos 
v. 23, absolutely: music. Accordingly "I1DTO signifies techni- 
cally the music and TB' the words. And therefore we trans- 
late the former by "Psalm", for 6 <|mxXia6<; 4<mv — says Gre- 
gory of Nyssa — <) 8i& too dpf dvoo too jioooixou jieXa>8(a, <j>SJ/ 
8e 4} 8ia atijioto? fevojilvoo too piXoo? jisto £t)[a<£tcdv 4x<ptovY)otc 

That Ps. iii. is a hymn arranged for music is also mani- 
fest from the T)bo which occurs here 3 times. It is found in 


the Psalter, as Bruno has correctly calculated, 71 times (17 
times in the 1st book, 30 in the 2nd, 20 in the 3rd, 4 in the 
4th) and, with the exception of the anonymous Ps. lxvi 
lxvii., always in those that are inscribed by the name of David 
and of the psalmists famed from the time of David. That 
it is a marginal note referring to the Davidic Temple-music 
is clearly seen from the fact, that all the Psalms with T\bo 
have the V&izb which relates to the musical execution, with 
the exception of eight (xxxii. xlviii. 1. lxxxii. lxxxiii. lxxxvii- 
lxxxix. cxliii.) which, however, from the designation ")1DTD 

Digitized by 


103 P8ALM UL 

are at least manifestly designed for music. The Tephilla of 
Habbakuk, ch. iii., the only portion of Scripture in which 
rbo occurs out of the Psalter, as an exception has the TOJcA 
at the end. Including the three T\bo of this tephilla, the 
word does not occur less than 74 times in the Old Testament. 
Now as to the meaning of this musical nota bene, 1st, 
every explanation as an abbreviation, — the best of which is 
= "IB^ rby&b 3b (turn thyself towards above i. e. towards 
the front, Singer 1 therefore: da capo), — is to be rejected, 
because such abbreviations fail of any further support in the 
Old Testament. Also 2ndly, the derivation from rbtt/ — rbo 
tiler e, according to which it denotes a pause, or orders the 
singers to be silent while the music strikes up, is inadmis- 
sible, because rbc in this sense is neither Hebrew nor Ara- 
maic and moreover in Hebrew itself the interchange of tf 
with D (]\*ytf, p'~C) is extremely rare. There is but one ver- 
bal stem with which n^D can be combined, viz. ^D or n^D 
(>O0). The primary notion of this verbal stem is that of 
lifting up, from which, with reference to the derivatives ota 
a ladder and T\bcc in the signification an ascent, or steps,' 
2 Chron. ix. 11, comes the general meaning for n^p, of a 
musical rise. When the tradition of the Mishna explains the 
word as a synonym of nsj and the Targum, the Quinta, and 
the Sexta (and although variously Aquila and sometimes 
the Syriac version) render it in accordance therewith "for 
ever (always)", — in favour of which Jerome also at last 
decides, Ep. ad Marcellam "quid sit Sela*), — the original mu- 
sical signification is converted into a corresponding logical 
or lexical one. But it is apparent from the 8ta<|«xX(ia of the 
[<XX. (adopted by Symm., Theod., and the Syr.), that the 
musical meaning amounts to a strengthening of some kind 
or other; for Sid^aXjia signifies, according to its formation 
( — j*a M — pevov), not the pause as Gregory of Nyssa defines it: 
i) (isTGtgi) xij? ^aXjitpSia? fevojiivt) xati xi £0p6ov im\pi\L-q<3ii 
rrpj? u7co8oxt)v too Se68ev imxpivopivou voTjfiato;, but either the 
interlude, especially of the stringed instruments, (like 8ictu- 
Atov (8iauXeiov), according to Hesychius the interlude of the 
flutes between the choruses), or an intensified playing (as 
6ia<ji£XXsiv xpqcovoi; is found in a fragment of the comedian 

Digitized by 



Eupolis in Athenaeus of the strong play of triangular harps).* 
According to the pointing of the word as we now have it, it 
ought apparently to he regarded as a noun bo with the ah of 
direction (synonymous with niJ, up ! Job xxii. 29); for the omis- 
sion of the Dagesh beside the ah of direction is not without 
example (cf. 1 Kings ii. 40 nnj which is the proper reading, 
instead of npj, and referred to by Ewald) and the — , with 
Dag. forte implicitum, is usual before liquids instead of — , as 
rr© Gen. xxviii. 2, r,"in Gen. xiv. 10 instead of paddannah, 
harrah, as also n^n n 3 1 Sam. xxv. 5 instead of n^DIS. But 
the present pointing of this word, which is uniformly included 
in the accentuation of the Masoretic verse, is scarcely the 
genuine pointing: it looks like an imitation of reo. The word 
may originally have been pronounced M^D (elevatio after the 
form HFI3, dVt). The combination !"6d JVJH ix. 17i in which 
jVlfl refers to the playing of the stringed instruments (xcii. 4) 
leads one to infer that vbo is a note which refers not to the 
singing but to the instrumental accompaniment. But to 
understand by this a heaping up of weighty expressive ac- 
cords and powerful harmonies in general, would be to con- 
found ancient with modern music. What is meant is the 
joining in of the orchestra, or a reinforcement of the instru- 
ments, or even a transition from piano to forte. 

Three times in this Psalm we meet with this Hebrew forte. 
In sixteen Psalms (vii. xx. xxi. xliv. xlvii. xlviii. 1. liv. lx. 
lxi. lxxv. lxxxi. lxxxii. lxxxiii. lxxxv. cxliii.) we find it only 
once ; in fifteen Psalms (iv. ix. xxiv. xxxix. xlix. lii. lv. lvii. 
lix. lxii. lxvii. lxxvi. lxxxiv. lxxxvii. lxxxviii.), twice; in but 
seven Psalms (iii. xxxii. xlvi. lxvi. lxviii. lxxvii. cxl. and also 
Hab. iii.), three times; and only in one (lxxxix.), four times. 
It never stands at the beginning of a Psalm, for the ancient 
music was not as yet so fully developed, that rfrD should 
absolutely correspond to the ritornetto. Moreover, it does 
not always stand at the close of a strophe so as to be the 
sign of a regular interlude, but it is always placed where 
the instruments are to join in simultaneously and take up 

* On the explanations of 8irf<J<aXpa in the Fathers and the old lexico- 
graphers, vid. Suicer's The*. Ecel. and Angusti's Chrittl. ArchSologie, 
Hi. ii. 

Digitized by 


104 PSALM in. 2—3. 

the melody — a thing which frequently happens in the midst 
of the strophe. In the Psalm before us it stands at the close 
of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th strophes. The reason of its omission 
after the third is evident. 

Not a few of the Psalms bear the date of the time of 
the persecution under Saul, but only this and probably 
Ps. lxiii. have that of Absolom. The Psalter however con- 
tains other Psalms which reflect this second time of perse- 
cution. It is therefore all the more easy to accept as tradi- 
tion the inscription: when he fled before Absolom, his son. And 
what is there in the contents of the Psalm against this state- 
ment? All the leading features of the Psalm accord with it, 
viz. the mockery of one who is rejected of God 2 Sam. xvi. 
7 sq., the danger by night 2 Sam. xvii. 1, the multitudes of 
the people 2 Sam. xv. 13, xvii. 11, and the high position of 
honour held by the psalmist. Hitzig prefers to refer this 
and the following Psalm to the surprize by the Amalekites 
during David's settlement in Ziklag. But since at that time 
Zion and Jerusalem were not free some different interpreta- 
tion of ver. 5 b becomes necessary. And the fact that the 
Psalm does not contain any reference to Absolom does not 
militate against the inscription. It is explained by the tone 
of 2 Sam. xix. 1 [xviii. 33 Engl.]. And if Psalms belonging 
to the time of Absolom's rebellion required any such reference 
to make them known, then we should have none at all- 

Vers. 2 — 3. The first strophe contains the lament con- 
cerning the existing distress. From its combination with the 
exclamative DO, 1 T\ is accented on the ultima (and also in 
civ. 24); the accentuation of the perf. of verbs yy very fre- 
quently (even without the Warn consec.) follows the example 
of the strong verb, Ges. § 67 rem. 12. A declaration then 
takes the place of the summons and the c:n implied in the 
predicate 13*J now becomes the subject of participial predi- 
cates, which more minutely describe the continuing condition 
of affairs. The ^ of i&Slb signifies "in the direction of", fol- 
lowed by an address in xi. 1 (= "to"), or, as here and fre- 
quently (e. g. Gen. xxi. 7) followed by narration (— "of, 

Digitized by 


PSALH III. 4— 5. 105 

concerning). "VfBlb instead of ■»!? implies that the words of 
the adversaries pronounce a judgment upon his inmost life, 
or upon his personal relationship to God. ilPJJ'lB'] is an 
intensive form for ^i^?H£' , , whether it be with a double femi- 
nine termination (Ges., Ew., Olsh.), or, with an original 
(accusative) ah of the direction: we regard this latter view, 
with Hupfeld, as more in accordance with the usage and 
analogy of the language (comp. xliv. 27 with lxxx. 3, and 
D>^ prop, viixta, then as common Greek •Sj vuxxa, voj(0a). God 
is the ground of help; to have no more help in Him is equi- 
valent to being rooted out of favour with God. Open ene- 
mies as well as disconcerted friends look upon him as one 
henceforth cast away. David had plunged himself into the 
deepest abyss of wretchedness by his adultery with Bath- 
sheba, at the beginning of the very year in which, by the 
renewal of the Syro-Ammonitish war, he had reached the pin- 
nacle of worldly power. The rebellion of Absolom belonged 
to the series of dire calamities which began to come upon 
him from that time. Plausible reasons were not wanting 
for such words as these which give up his cause as lost. 

Vers. 4 — 5. But cleansed by penitence he stands in a to- 
tally different relationship to God and God to him from that 
which men suppose. Every hour he has reason to fear some 
overwhelming attack but Jahve is the shield which covers 

him behind and before (Tjpiconstr. of "ijja — Juu prop, pone, 
post). His kingdom is taken from him, but Jahve is his glory. 
With covered head and dejected countenance he ascended the 
Mount of Olives (2 Sam. xv. 30), but Jahve is the "lifter up 
of his head", inasmuch as He comforts and helps him. The 
primary passage of this believing utterance "God is a shield" 
is Gen. xv. 1 (cf. Deut. xxxiii. 29). Very far from praying 
in vain, he is assured, that when he prays his prayer will 
be heard and answered. The rendering "I cried and He 
answered me" is erroneous here where icon does not stand 

Til V 

in an historical connection. The future of sequence does 
not require it, as is evident from lv. 17 sq. (comp. on cxx. 1); 
it is only an expression of confidence in the answer on 
God's part, which will follow his prayer. In constructions 

Digitized by 


106 PSALM m. 6—7. 

like N'lpN ^Vlp, Hitzig and Hupfeld regard >^p as the narrow- 
er subject-notion beside the more general one (as xliv. 3, 
lxix. 11, lxxxiii. 19): my voice — I cried; but the position 
of the words is not favourable to this in the passage before 
us and in xvii. 10, xxvii. 7, lvii. 5, lxvi. 17, cxlii. 2, Isa. xxvi. 
9, though it may be in lxix. 11, cviii. 2. According to Ew. 
§ 281, c, ^1p is an accusative of more precise definition, as 
without doubt in Isa. x. 30 cf. Ps. lx. 7, xvii. 13 sq. ; the 
cry is thereby described as a loud cry.* To this cry, as \J3jM 
as being a pure mood of sequence implies, succeeds the an- 
swer, or, which better corresponds to the original meaning 

of riJJJ (comp. J^ft to meet,stand opposite) reply;** and it 
it comes from the place whither it was directed : Vt^g ">no« 
He had removed tbe ark from Eirjath Jearim to Zion. He 
had not taken it with him when he left Jerusalem and fled 
before Absolom, 2 Sam. xv. 25. He was therefore separated 
by a hostile power from the resting-place of the divine pre- 
sence. But his prayer urged its way on to the cherubim- 
throne; and to the answer of Him who is enthroned there, 
there is no separating barrier of space or created things. 

Vers. 6 — 7. That this God will protect him, His protec- 
tion during the past night is now a pledge to him in the early 
morning. It is a violation of the rules of grammar to trans- 
late WB^Nj: I shall go to sleep, or: I am going to sleep. The 
1 pers. fut. consec. which is indicated by the 1 , is fond of 
taking an ah of direction, which gives subjective intensity to 
the idea of sequence : "and thus I then fell asleep", cf. vii. 
5, cxix. 55, and frequently, Gen. xxxii. 6, and more especially 

* Bottcher, Collectanea pp. 166 sq., also adopts the view, that '^M» 
'?> , ?p are each appositum viearium tubjecti and therefore nomin. in such 
passages. But 1) the fact that HN never stands beside them is explained 
by the consideration that it is not suited to an adverbial collateral defini- 
tion. And 2) that elsewhere the same notions appear as direct subjects, 
just as 3) that elsewhere they alternate with the verbal subject-notion 
in the parallel member of the verse (cxxx. 5 , Prov. viii. 4) — these last 
two admit of no inference. The controverted question of the syntax is, 
moreover, an old one and has been treated of at length by Kimchi in 
his Booh of Roots t. r. ffiN. 

** vid. Rcdslob in his treatise: Die Iniegrit&t der Stclle Hot. vii. 4 — 10 
tn Frage gesteUt S. 7. 

Digitized by 


P8ALM HI. »-9. 107 

so in the later style,Ezra ix. 3, Neh. xiii. 21, vid. Ges. § 49, 2, 
Bottcher, Neue Aehrenlese, No. 412. It is a retrospective 
glance at the past night. Awaking in health and safety, 
he feels grateful to Him to whom he owes it: UDCD? ffi!T. It 
is the result of the fact that Jahve supports him, and that 
God's hand is his pillow.* Because this loving, almighty hand 
is beneath his head (Cant. ii. 6) he is inaccessible and there- 
fore also devoid of fear. rPt^ (nils') carries its object in itself: 
to take up one's position, as in Isa. xxii. 7, synon. run 
xxviii. 3 and O^ttf 1 Kings xx. 12, cf. imttOivat tivt. David 
does not put a merely possible case. All Israel, that is to say 
ten thousands, myriads, were gone over to Absolom. Here, at 
the close of the third strophe, !"6d is wanting because the tib 
tfWt (I will not fear) is not uttered in a tone of triumph, but 
is only a quiet, meek expression of believing confidence. If the 
instruments struck up boldly and suddenly here, then a cry for 
help, urged forth by the difficulties that still continually sur- 
rounded him, would not be able to follow. 

Vers. 8 — 9. The bold riDip is taken from the mouth of 
Moses, Num. x. 35. God is said to arise when He takes a 
decisive part in what takes place in this world. Instead of 
kutnah it is accented kumdh as Milra, in order (since the 
reading tin noip is assumed) that the final ah may be sharply 
cut off from the guttural initial of the next word, and thus 
render a clear, exact pronunciation of the latter possible 
(Hitz., Ew. § 228, ft).** Beside HUT we have <nV» with the 

* Referred to the other David, rer. 6 has become an Easter-morning 
eall, vid. Val. Herberger's Paradiet- Bliimlein aut dem Lutlgarlen der 
Ptahnen (Neue Ausg. 1857) S. 25. 

** This is the traditional reason of the accentuation thutdh, kumdh, 
ihithdh before AWT: it is intended to prevent the one or other of the two 
gutturals being swallowed up (lyW N?T) by too rapid speaking. Hence 
it is that the same thing takes place even when another word, not the 
name of God, follows, if it begins with N or the like, and is closely con- 
nected with it by meaning and accentuation: e. g. Judges vt. 18 rniD 
twice Milra before N ; Ps. Mi. 9 rniy, Milra before H ; fltfe, Milra before 
•1, Exod. t. 22; nru Is.xi. 2, and nton Gen. zzri. 10, Milra before V> 
and the following fact favours it, vix. that for a similar reason Pasek is 
placed were two ' would come together, e. g. Gen. zzi. 14 Adonaj jir'ek 
with the stroke of separation between the two words, cf. Ex. xv. 18, 
Prov. viii. 21. The fact that in Jer. xl. 5, rt3^1 remains Milel, is accounted 

Digitized by 


108 PSALM 111. 8-9. 

tuff, of appropriating faith. The cry for help is then sub- 
stantiated by >3 and the retrospective perf. They are not 
such perff. of prophetically certain hope as in vi. 9, vii. 7 f 
iz. 5 sq., for the logical connection requires an appeal to 
previous experience in the present passage: they express facts 
of experience, which are taken from many single events (hence 
bo) down to the present time. The verb rcn is construed 
with a double accusative, as e. g., Iliad xvi. 597 xov j*ev apa 
rXauxo? ot^0o; pioov ouxaos Soopt. The idea of contempt (Job 
xvi. 10) is combined with that of rendering harmless in this 
"smiting upon the cheek". What is meant is a striking in of 
the jaw-bone and therewith a breaking of the teeth in pieces 
("12E/). David means, an ignominious end has always come 
upon the ungodly who rose up against him and against God's 
order in general, as their punishment. The enemies are con- 
ceived of as monsters given to biting, and the picture of their 
fate is fashioned according to this conception. Jahve has the 
power and the will to defend His Anointed against their host- 
ility: njJItP'jn Tflpenes Jovam est salus. TiyjMft (fromjTC£, *-*■•» 

amplum esse) signifies breadth as applied to perfect freedom 
of motion, removal of all straitness and oppression, prosper- 
ity without exposure to danger and unbeclouded. In the b 
of possession lies the idea of the exclusiveness of the pos- 
session and of perfect freedom of disposal. At Jahve's free 
disposal stands nyil^n, salvation, in all its fulness (just so 
in Jon. ii. 10, Apoc. vii. 10). In connection therewith David 
first of all thinks of his own need of deliverance. But as a 
true king he cannot before God think of himself, without 
connecting himself with his people. Therefore he closes 
with the intercessory inference: *jp?"13 IBJT^J? Upon Thy 
people be Thy blessing! We may supply inn or tf2Fl. Instead 
of cursing his faithless people he implores a blessing upon 

for by its being separated from the following nj71i"?Nby Pater; a real 
exception, however (Miehlol 112 b), — and not as Norzi from misappre- 
hension observes, a controverted one, — is i"Q^, MiM before "l , 3*l 2 Sam. 
xv, 27, but it is by no means sufficient to oppose the purely orthophoria 
(not rhythmical) ground of this uftroia-accentuation. Even the semi-gut- 
tural *> sometimes has a like influence over the tone : ribdh ribt xliii. 1, 
sxix. 154. 

Digitized by 


PSALM IV. 109 

those who have been piteously led astray and deceived. This 
"upon Thy people be Thy blessing 1" has its counterpart in 
the •Father forgive them" of the other David, whom His 
people crucified. The one concluding word of the Psalm 
— observes Ewald — casts a bright light into the very 
depths of his noble soul. 



2 WHEN I call answer me, God of my righteousness, 
Who hast made space for me in straitness; 

Be merciful unto me and hear my prayer 1 

3 Te sons of men, how long shall my honour become shame, 
Since ye love appearance, ye seek after leasing?! (Sela) 

4 Enow then, that Jahve hath marked out the godly man 

for Himself; 
Jahve heareth when I call to Him. 

5 Be ye angry, yet sin ye not! — 

Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be 
still 1 (Sela.) 

6 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, 
And put your trust in Jahve t 

7 Many say: "How can we experience good!?" 

lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, Jahve t 

8 Thou hast put gladness into my heart, 

More than in the time when their corn and wine abound. 

9 In peace will I lay me down and forthwith sleep, 
For Thou, Jahve, in seclusion 

Makest me to dwell securely. 

The Davidic morning hymn is now followed by a Davidic 
evening hymn. It is evident that they belong together from 
the mutual relation of iv. 7 with iii. 3, and iii. 6 with iv. 9. 
They are the only two Psalms in which the direct words of 
others are taken up into a prayer with the formula "many 
say", onON CGI. The history and chronological position of 
the one is explained from the inscription of the other. From 

Digitized by 


110 PSALM IV. 

the quousque iv. 3, and the words of the feeble-faiths iv. 7, it 
follows that Ps. iv. is the later of the two. 

It is at the head of this Psalm that we are first met by 
PK:»^ (or rfittob with Gqfa, Hab. iii. 19), which still calls for 
investigation. It is found fifty five times in the Psalter, not 
54 as is usually reckoned : viz. 19 times in book i., 25 times 
in book ii. , 8 times in book iii., 3 times in book v. Only 
two of the Psalms, at the head of which it is found, are 
anonymous: viz. lxvi., lxvii. All the others bear the names 
of David and of the psalmists celebrated from David's time, 
viz. 39 of David, 9 of the Korahites, 5 of Asaph. No fewer 
than 30 of these Psalms are Elohimic. muvb is always the 
first word of the inscription; only in Ps. lxxxviii., which is 
easily liable to be overlooked in reckoning, is it otherwise, 
because there two different inscriptions are put together. 

The meaning of the verb n*0 is evident from the Chroni- 
cles and the Book of Ezra, which belongs to them. The 
predilection of the chronicler for the history of religious 
worship and antiquarian lore is also of use in reference to 
this word. He uses it in the history of the time of David, 
of Solomon, of Josiah, of Zerubbabel and Joshua, and always 
in connection with the accounts of the Temple-service and 
the building of single parts of the Temple. To discharge the 
official duties of the Temple-service is called nr vha J ty IT.U 
'!rrV3 1 Chron. xxiii. 4 (comp. 28 — 32), and the expression 
is used in Ezra iii. 8 sq. of the oversight of the work and 
workmen for the building of the Temple. The same 3300 
(3600) overseers, who are called rCN^a? r^it'jjn C5J2 nnin 
in 1 Kings v. 30 are described by the chronicler (2 Chron. 
ii. 1) as crv^j? OTSUD. In connection with the repair of the 
Temple under Josiah we read that Levites were appointed 
rUtob (2 Chron. xxxiv. 12), namely TDibv TVtfy hi) (ver. 13), 
instead of which we find it said in ii. 17 1'2gr6, to keep the 
people at their work. The primary notion of PiJO is that of 
shining, and in fact of the purest and most dazzling bright- 
ness; this then passes over to the notion of shining over or 
outshining, and in fact both of uninterrupted continuance 
and of excellence and superiority (vid. Ithpa. Dan. vi. 4, and 
cf. 1 Chron. xxiii. 4 with ix. 13; 1 Cor. xv. 54 with Isa. xxv.8). 

Digitized by 



Thus, therefore, rfiljp is one who shews eminent ability in 
any departement, and then it gains the general significa- 
tion of master, director, chief overseer. At the head of the 
Psalms it is commonly understood of the director of the 
Temple-music, nsjo est dux cantus — Luther says in one place 
— quern nos dicimus den Kapellenmeister [the hand-master], qui 
orditur etgubernat cantum,lZapxoi (Opp. lat. xvii. 134 ed. Erl.). 
But 1st, even the Psalms of Asaph have this rayob at the be- 
ginning, and he was himself a director of the Temple-music, 
and in fact the chief-director (tftf"in) 1 Chron. xvi. 5, or at 
any rate he was one of the three (Heman, Asaph, Ethan), to 
whom the 24 classes of the 4000 Levite singers under the 
Davidico-Salomonic sanctuary were subordinate; 2ndly, the 
passage of the chronicler (1 Chron. xv. 17 — 21) which is most 
prominent in reference to this question, does not accord 
with this explanation. According to this passage the three 
directors of the Temple-music managed the cymbals pDB'^1% 
to sound aloud; eight other musicians of high rank the 
nablas and six others the citherns nS3^>. This expression 
cannot mean "to direct", for the direction belonged to the 
three, and the cymbals were also better adapted to it than 
the citherns. It means "to take the lead in the playing": 
the cymbals directed and the citherns, better adapted to take 
the lead in the playing, were related to them, somewhat as 
the violins to the clarinets now-a-days. Hence PI3JD is not 
the director of the Temple-music but in general the master 
of song, and JVixb addresses the Psalm to him whose duty 
it is to arrange it and to train the Levite choristers; it 
therefore defines the Psalm as belonging to the songs of the 
Temple worship that require musical accompaniment. The 
translation of the Targum (Luther) also corresponds to this 
general sense of the expression: N1T3b6 "to be sung liturgi- 
cally", and the LXX : el; ?& xl\oz, if this signifies "to the 
execution" and does not on the contrary ascribe an eschato* 
logical meaning to the Psalm.* 

* Thus e. g. Eusebius: t(< to tiXos eb« Sv paxpoTc Carepov gpivou 
iti otmcXcC? xoO oidivoc pcXXivTav irXT)po0o8ai, Mid Theodoret: or^otvei 
ti ci( -:Ac<Xo; 8ti paxpoTc Botepov ^p6votc icXijpmft^otToi xd npofijTeui- 
Y*v«, with which accords Pesachim 117 a vd? "Pnj;^ JUJ1 ITUM, i. «. 

Digitized by 


112 PSALM IV. 2. 

The rw»3 which is added is not governed by it. This 
can be seen at once from Hab. iii. 19 : to the chief singer, 
with an accompaniment of my stringed instruments (vid. 
my Commentary), which Hitzig renders: to the chief singer 
of my musical pieces ; but 3 nsj is not a phrase that can be 
supported, and nJ'M does not mean a piece of music. The 
Piel, jjlj, complete with *i>3, signifies to touch the strings 
(cogn. JJU), to play a stringed instrument. Whence comes 
nWU (lxxvii. 7, Isa. xxxviii. 20) which is almost always used 
as a pluralet. : the play of the stringed instruments, and the 
superscribed nW}33 Ps. iv. vi. liv. lv. lxvii. lxxvi.: with an 
accompaniment of the stringed instruments; and 3 is used 
as in xlix. 5, Isa. xxx. 29, 32. The hymn is to be sung in 
company with, probably with the sole accompaniment of, the 
stringed instruments. The fact of the inscribed words 
mWJS riSJO^ preceding nr6 11DTD probably arises from the 
fact of their being written originally at the top over the 
chief title which gave the generic name of the hymn and the 

Ver. 2. Jahve is p"S fl'Sj, the possessor of righteousness, 
the author of righteousness,' and the vindicator of misjudged 
and persecuted righteousness. This God of righteousness 
David believingly calls his God (cf. xxiv. 5, lix. 11); for the 
righteousness he possesses, he possesses in Him, and the 
righteousness he looks for, he looks for in Him. That this is 
not in vain, his previous experience assures him: Thou hast 
made a breadth (space) for me when in a strait. In connection 
with this confirmatory relation of •$ FOnnn TS3 it is more 
probable that we have before us an attributive clause (Hitz.), 
than that we have an independent one, and at any rate it is 
a retrospective clause, namn is not precative (Bottch.), for 
the perf. of certainty with a precative colouring is confined 

Psalms with nSJD^ and fliMX) refer to the last days. Gregory of 
Nyssa combines the different translations by rendering: e(« -l\ot, 8itep 
toxiv 4) vCxt). Ewald's view, that xilot in this formula means conse- 
cration, celebration, worship, is improbable; in this signification it i» 
not a Septnagint word. 

Digitized by 


PSALM IV. 3—4. 113 

to such exclamatory utterances as Job xxi. 16 (which sec). 
He bases his prayer on two things, viz. on his fellowship 
with God, the righteous God, and on His justifying grace 
which he has already experienced. He has been many times 
in a strait already, and God has made a broad place for him. 
The idea of the expansion of the breathing (of the stream 
of air) and of space is attached to the n r of 3m , root m 
(Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. xii. 657). What is meant is the 
expansion of the straitened heart, xxv. 17. Isa. lx. 5, and 
the widening of a straitened position, xviii. 20, cxviii. 5. On 
theDag. in ^ vid. on lxxxiv. 4. 

Vers. 3 — 4. Righteous in his relation to God he turns 
rebukingly towards those who contemn him whose honour is 
God's honour, viz. to the partisans of Absolom. In contrast 
with DIN '33, men who are lost in the multitude, b*n '33 
denotes such as stand prominently forward out of the multi- 
tude; passages like xlix. 3, lxii. 10, Prov. viii. 4, Isa. ii. 9, 
t. 15, shew this distinction. In this and the preceding Psalm 
David makes as little mention of his degenerate son as he 
does of the deluded king in the Psalms belonging to the 
period of his persecution by Saul. The address is directed 
to the aristocratic party, whose tool Absolom has become. 
To these he says : till when (THOr'V. beside the non-guttural 
which follows with Segol, without any manifest reason, as in 
x. 13, Isa. i. 5, Jer. xvi. 10), i. e. how long shall my honour 
become a mockery, namely to you and by you, just as we can 
also say in Latin quousque tandem dignitas me a ludibrio? The 
two following members are circumstantial clauses subordi- 
nate to the principal clause with no~~iy (similar to Isa. i. 
5<r ; Ew. § 341, b). The energetic fut. with Nun parag. does 
not usually stand at the head of independent clauses; it is 
therefore to be rendered: since ye love pn, that which is 
empty — the proper name for their high rank is hollow 
appearance — how long will ye pursue after 3?3, falsehood? 
— they seek to find out every possible lying pretext, in 
order to trail the honour of the legitimate king in the 
dust. The assertion that the personal honour of David, 
not his kingly dignity, is meant by 'T133, separates what 
is inseparable. They are eager to injure his official at the 
vol i. 8 

Digitized by 


114 PSALM IV. 5— C. 

same time as bis personal reputation. Therefore David ap- 
peals in opposition to them (ver. 4) not only to the divine 
choice, but also to his personal relationship to God, on which 
that choice is based. The 1 of ijni is, as in 2 Kings iv. 41, 
the l of sequence: so know then. The ffiph. n^SH (from 
-|^q — N^B, cogn. bbo, prop, to divide) to make a separa- 
tion, make a distinction Exod. ix. 4, xi. 7, then to distin- 
guish in an extraordinary and remarkahle way Exod. viii. 
18, and to shew Ps. xvii. 7, cf. xxxi. 22, so that con- 
sequently what is meant is not the mere selection (in|), but 
the remarkable selection to a remarkable position of honour 
(LXX., Vulg. mirificavit, Windberg translation of the Psalms 
gemunderlichet). }b belongs to the verb, as in cxxxv. 4, and 
the principal accent lies on TOT: he whom Jahve Himself, not 
men, has thus remarkably distinguished is a TOT, a pious 
man, i. e. either, like the Syriac KTOT — NCTTl : God's favou- 
rite, or, according to the biblical usage of the language (cf. xii 
2 with Isa. lvii. 1), in an active signification like D'^B, ^'IQj 
and the like: a lover of God, from "|OT (root on y«*. strin- 
ger e, whence hassa to curry, mahassa a curry-comb) prop, 
to feel one's self drawn, i. e. strongly affected (comp. hiss a 
mental impression), in Hebrew, of a strong ardent affection. 
As a TOT he does not call upon God in vain, but finds a 
ready hearing. Their undertaking consequently runs counter 
to the miraculously evidenced will of God and must fail by 
reason of the loving relationship in which the dethroned 
and debased one stands to God. 

Vers. 5 — 6. The address is continued: they are to repent 
and cleave to Jahve instead of allowing themselves to be car- 
ried away by arrogance and discontent. The LXX. has ren- 
dered it correctly: JpflCeofte xal p.ij iftaptivets (cf. Ephes. 
iv. 26): if ye will be angry beware of sinning, viz. back- 
biting and rebellion (cf. the similar paratactic combina- 
tions xxviii. 1, Josh. vi. 18, Isa. xii. 1). In connection with 
the rendering contremiscite we feel to miss any expression 
of that before which they are to tremble (viz. the sure 
punishment which God decrees). He warns his adversaries 
against blind passion, and counsels them to quiet converse 
with their own hearts, and solitary meditation, in order that 

Digitized by 


PSALM IV. 5-8. 11 j 

they may not imperil their own salvation. To commune with 
one's own heart, without the addition of the object, is equi- 
valent to to think alone by one's self, and the bed or resting- 
place, without requiring to be understood literally, points to a 
condition of mind that is favourable to quiet contemplation. 
The heart is the seat of the conscience, and the Spirit of God 
(as Hamann, Werke i. 98, observes on this subject) disguises 
itself as our own voice that we may see His exhortation, His 
counsel, and His wisdom well up out of our own stony heart. 
The second imper. continues the first: and cease, prop, be 
still (OE1 from the sound of the closed mouth checking the 
discourse), i. e. come to your right mind by self-examination, 
cease your tumult — a warning coming with the semblance 
of command by reason of the consciousness of innocence on 
his part; and this impression has to be rendered here by the 
striking in of the music. The dehortation passes over into 
exhortation in ver. 6. Of course the sacrifices were continued 
in the sanctuary while David, with his faithful followers, 
was a fugitive from Jerusalem. Referring to this, David 
cries out to the Absolomites: offer pTjpro. Here at least 
these are not offerings consisting of actions which are in ac- 
cordance with the will of God, instead of slaughtered animals, 
but sacrifices offered with a right mind, conformed to the will 
of God, instead of the hypocritical mind with which they con- 
secrate their evil doings and think to flatter God. In li. 21, 
Dent, xxxiii. 19 also, •the sacrifices of righteousness" are real 
sacrifices, not merely symbols of moral acts. Not less full of 
meaning is the exhortation Tvfo THS3I. The verb l"l£3 is 
construed with b$ as in xxxi. 7, lvi. 4, lxxxvi. 2, combining 
with the notion of trusting that of drawing near to, hanging 
on, attaching one's self to any one. The Arabic word ^Jaj, 

expander e, has preserved the primary notion of the word, a 
notion which, as in the synon. k.-.', when referred to the 
effect which is produced on the heart, countenance and whole 
nature of the man by a joyous cheerful state of mind, passes 
over to the notion of this state of mind itself, so that nt32 
(like the Arab, inbasata to be cheerful, fearless, bold, lit. 
expanded (cf. an*l Isa. lx. 5) — unstraitened) consequently 

Digitized by VjOOQlC ' 

116 PSALM IV. 7—8. 

signifies to be courageous, confident. They are to renounce 
the self-trust which blinds them in their opposition to the 
king who is deprived of all human assistance. If they will 
trustingly submit themselves to God, then at the same time 
the murmuring and rancorous discontent, from which the 
rebellion has sprung, will be stilled. Thus far the address to 
the rebellious magnates goes. 

Vers. 7 — 8. Looking into his own small camp David is 
conscious of a disheartened feeling which is gaining power 
over him. The words: who will make us see, i". e. (as in xxxiv. 
13) experience any good? can be taken as expressive of a 
wish according to 2 Sam. xxiii. 15, Isa. xlii. 23; but the situa- 
tion gives it the character of a despondent question arising 
from a disheartened view of the future. The gloom has now 
lasted so long with David's companions in tribulation that 
their faith is turned to fear, their hope to despair. David 
therefore prays as he looks upon them: Oh lift upon us 
OO^JTHDJ)* the light of Thy countenance. The form of the 
petition reminds one of the priestly benediction in Num. vi. 
There it is: VJB Tl "W in the second portion, in the third NB^ 
VJB 71, here these two wishes are blended into one prayer; 
and moreover in HD3 there is an allusion to DJ a banner, for 
the imper. of K&3, the regular form of which is xiff, will also 
admit of the form KfcO (x. 12), but the mode of writing HD3 
(without example elsewhere, for DCB Job iv. 2 signifies "to be 
attempted") is only explained by the mingling of the verbs 

NtM and DDJ, yoi, extollere (lx. 6); <D3 71 (cf. lx. 6) is, more- 
over, a primeval word of the Tora (Ex. xvii. 15). If we may 
suppose that this mingling is not merely a mingling of forms 
in writing, but also a mingling of the ideas in those forms, 
then we have three thoughts in this prayer which are brought 
before the eye and ear in the briefest possible expression: 

* The Metheg which stands in the second syllable before the tone 
stands by the Sheba, in the metrical books, if this syllable is the first 
in a word marked with a greater distinctive without any conjnnctive pre- 
ceding it, and beginning with Sheba; it is, therefore, not W^jrriD) bat 
U^JJ-nDJ, cf. li. 2 -NQ3, lxix. 28 "flJI*, lxxxi. 3 ntfa, cxvi. 17 -q, 
cxix. 175 THJ. The reason and object are the same as stated in not* 
p. 84 supra. 

Digitized by 


PSALM IV. 9. 117 

may Jahve cause His face to shine upon them; may He lift 
upon them the light of His countenance so that they may 
have it above them like the sun in the sky, and may that 
light be a banner promising them the victory, around which 
they shall rally. 

David, however, despite the hopelessness of the present, 
is even now at peace in His God. The joy which Jahve has 
put into his heart in the midst of outward trial and adversity 
is on CEflrrn DJrj PJJO. The expression is as concise as pos- 
sible: (1) gaudium pree equivalent to gaudium magnum prte - 
majus quam; then (2) ny» after the analogy of the comparatio 
decurtata (e. g. xviii. 34 my feet are like hinds, i. e. like the 
feet of hinds) is equivalent to ny nndtfo; (3) "itfNt is omitted 
after ny according to Ges. § 123, 3, for ny is the construct 
state, and what follows is the second member of the genitival 
relation, dependent upon it (cf. xc. 15, Isa. xxix. 1); the 
plurality of things: corn and new wine, inasmuch as it is 
the stores of both that are specially meant, is exceptionally 
joined with the plur. instead of the sing., and the chief word 
rabbu stands at the end by way of emphasis. The stiff, does 
not refer to the people of the land in general (as in lxv. 
10), but, in accordance with the contrast, to the Absolomites, 
to those of the nation who have fallen away from David. 
When David came to Mahanaim, while the rebels were en- 
camped in Gilead, the country round about him was hostile, 
so that he had to receive provisions by stealth, 2 Sam. xvii. 
26 — 29. Perhaps it was at the time of the feast of taber- 
nacles. The harvest and the vintage were over. A rich 
harvest of corn and new wine was garnered. The followers 
of Absolom had, in these rich stores which were at their 
disposal, a powerful reserve upon which to fall back. David 
and his host were like a band of beggars or marauders. 
But the king brought down from the sceptre to the beggar's 
staff is nevertheless happier than they, the rebels against 
him. What he possesses in his heart is a richer treasure 
than all that they have in their barns and cellars. 

Ver. 9. Thus then he lies down to sleep, cheerfully and 
peacefully. The hymn closes as it began with a three line 
verse. VTP {lit. in its unions — collectively, Olshausen, § 135, c, 


Digitized by VjOOQlC 

118 PSALM V 

like fe altogether, tfljc at the right time) is by no means 
unemphatic; nor is it so in xix. 10 where it means "all to- 
gether, without exception". With synonymous verbs it de- 
notes the combination of that which they imply, as Isa. xlii. 
14. It is similar in cxli. 10 where it expresses the coinci- 
dence of the fall of his enemies and the escape of the per- 
secuted one. So here: he wishes to go to sleep and also at 
once he falls asleep (jBtytl in a likewise cohortative sense — 
n;i2^to). His God makes him to dwell in seclusion free of 
care. "TO 1 ? is a first definition of condition, and nas? a se- 
cond. The former is not, after Deut. xxxii. 12, equivalent to 
*poV, an addition which would be without any implied 
antithesis and consequently meaningless. One must there- 
fore, as is indeed required by the situation, understand T12V 
according to Num. xxiii. 9, Mic. vii, 14, Deut. xxxiii. 28, 
Jer. xlix. 31. He needs no guards for he is guarded round 
about by Jahve and kept in safety. The seclusion, *ns, in 
which he is, is security, nt?2, because Jahve is near him. 
Under what a many phases and how sweetly the nature of 
faith is expressed in this and the foregoing Psalm: his 
righteousness, exaltation, joy, peace, contentment in God I 
And how delicately conceived is the rhythm 1 In the last line 
the evening hymn itself sinks to rest. The iambics with which 
it closes are like the last strains of a lullaby which die away 
softly and as though falling asleep themselves. Dante is right 
when he says in his Convito, that the sweetness of the music 
and harmony of the Hebrew Psalter is lost in the Greek and 
Latin translations. 



2 GIVE ear to my words, Jahve, 
Consider my meditation 1 

3 Hearken unto my loud cry, my King and my God, 
For unto Thee do I pray. 

4 Jahve, in the morning shalt Thou hear my voice 

In the morning will I prepare an offering for Thee and 
look forth. 

Digitized by 


PSALM V. 119 

6 For Thou art not aOod that hath pleasure in wickedness, 
An evil man cannot dwell with Thee. 

6 Boasters cannot stand in Thy sight, 
Thou hatest all workers of iniquity ; 

7 Thou destroyest them that speak lies, 

The man of blood-guiltiness and malice Jahve abhor reth. 

8 Yet I, through Thy rich grace, may enter Thy house, 
I may worship towards Thy holy Temple in Thy fear. 

9 Jahve, lead me by Thy righteousness, because of them 

that lie in wait for me, 
Make Thy way even before my face — 

10 For in his mouth is nothing certain, 

their inward part is an abyss, 
An open sepulchre is their throat, 

with a smooth tongue. 

11 Punish them, Elohim, let them fall from their counsels, 
In the multitude of their transgressions cast them away, 

who defy Thee; 

12 That all they who trust in Thee may rejoice, 

may ever shout for joy; 
And defend Thou them that they may exult in Thee, 
who love Thy name. 

13 For Thou, even Thou, dost bless the righteous — 
Jahve! with favour dost Thou compass him as with 

a shield. 

The evening prayer is now followed by a second morning 
prayer, which like the former draws to a close with nnt$~ , 3 
(iv. 9, v. 13). The situation is different from that in Ps. iii. 
In that Psalm David is fleeing, here he is in Jerusalem and 
anticipates going up to the Temple service. If this Psalm 
also belongs to the time of the rebellion of Absolom, it must 
have been written when the fire which afterwards broke forth 
was already smouldering in secret. 

The inscription nl^nsn^N is certainly not a motto in- 
dicative of its contents (LXX., Vulg., Luther, Hengstenberg). 
As such it would stand after "iIdtd. Whatever is connected 
with nucb, always has reference to the music. If rn^TO 

Digitized by 


120 PSALM V. 2—4. 

came from bm it might according to the biblical use of this 
verb signify "inheritances*, or according to its use in the 

Talmud "swarms", and in fact swarms of bees (Jia£); and 
ni^ru ought then to be the beginning of a popular melody 
to which the Psalm is adapted. Hai Gaon understands it to 
denote a melody resembling the hum of bees; Reggio a song 
that sings of bees. Or is rftbvii equivalent to ni^na (excavatee) 
and this a special name for the flutes (o^n)? The use of 
the flute in the service of the sanctuary is attested by Isa. 
xxx. 29, cf. 1 Sam. x. 5, 1 Kings i. 40.* The preep. i?N was, 
then, more appropriate than by; because, as Redslob has 
observed, the singer cannot play the flute at the same time, 
but can only sing to the playing of another. 

The Psalm consists of four six line strophes. The lines 
of the strophes here and there approximate to the caesura- 
schema. They consist of a rising and a sudden lowering. 
The German language, which uses so many more words, is 
not adapted to this caesura -schema [and the same may be 
said of the English]. 

Vers. 2 — 4. The introit: Prayer to be heard. The thoughts 
are simple but the language is carefully chosen. CHDN is 
the plur. of icSt ("ION), one of the words peculiar to the 
poetic prophetical style. The denominative prtCI (like audire 
_ aus, out, dare) belongs more to poetry than prose, TV\ 
(like a'riN) or ran (like TPIO) occurs only in two Psalms 
"V\lb, viz. here and xxxix. 4. It is derived from ajri — i"UD 

* - T T T 

iyid. i. 2) and signifies that which is spoken meditatively, 
here praying in rapt devotion. Beginning thus the prayer 
gradually rises to a vox clamoris. vpitf from jnt^, to be dis- 
tinguished from 'ja# (inf. Pi.) xxviii. 2, xxxi. 23, is one word 
with the Aram. niS, iEthiop. jns (to call). On S'g'pri used 
of intent listening, vid. x. 17. The invocation VWO '3^0, 
when it is a king who utters it, is all the more significant. 
David, and in general the theocratic king, is only the repre- 
sentative of the Invisible One, whom he with all Israel adores 

* On the nse of the flute in the second Temple , vid. Introduction 

Digitized by 


PSALM V. 5—7. 121 

as bis King. Prayer to Him is his first work as he begins 
the day. In the morning, ng'a (as in lv. 18 for ")j?23, lxxxviii. 
14),shalt Thou hear my cry, is equivalent to my cry which 
goes forth with the early morn. Hupfeld considers the men- 
tion of the morning as only a "poetical expression* and when 
getting rid of the meaning prima luce, he also gets rid of the 
beautiful and obvious reference to the daily sacrifice. The 
verb ^"ijj is the word used of laying the wood in order 
for the sacrifice, Lev. i. 7, and the pieces of the sacrifice, 
Lev. i. 8, 12, vi. 5, of putting the sacred lamps in order, 
Ex.xxvii. 21, Lev. xxiv. 3 sq., and of setting the shew-bread 
in order, Ex. xl. 23, Lev. xxiv. 8. The laying of the wood 
in order for the morning offering of a lamb (Lev. vi. 5 [12], 
cf. Num. xxviii. 4) was one of the first duties of the priest, 
as soon as the day began to dawn; the lamb was slain be- 
fore sun-rise and when the sun appeared above the horizon 
laid piece by piece upon the altar. The morning prayer is 
compared to this morning sacrifice. This is in its way also a 
sacrifice. The object which David has in his mind in con- 
nection with ypytt is 'r&BH. As the priests, with the early 
morning, lay the wood and pieces of the sacrifices of the 
Tamid upon the altar, so he brings his prayer before God 
as a spiritual sacrifice and looks out for an answer (D£>3 s P e ~ 
culari as in Hab. ii. 1), perhaps as the priest looks out for 
fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, or looks to the 
smoke to see that it rises up straight towards heaven. 

Vers. 5 — 7: The basing of the prayer on God's holiness. 
The verbal adjective }>sn (coming from the primitive significa- 
tion of adhering firmly which is still preserved in ijdAs* fut. 
i.) is in the sing, always (xxxiv. 13, xxxv. 27) joined with the 
accusative, jn is conceived as a person , for although Tia may 
have a material object, it cannot well have a material sub- 
ject. ?jna"» is used for brevity of expression instead of ?|sy -wjj 
(Ges. § 121, 4). The verb "til (to turn in, to take up one's 
abode with or near any one) frequently has an accusative 
object, cxx. 5, Judges v. 17, and Isa. xxxiii. 14 according 
to which the light of the divine holiness is to sinners a 
consuming fire, which they cannot endure. Now there fol- 
low specific designations of the wicked. C^in part. Kal 

Digitized by 


122 PSALM V. 8-10. 

— hoflim, or even Poal — hdflim ( — D'^inc),* are the 
foolish, and more especially foolish boasters; the primary 
notion of the verb is not that of being hollow, but that of 
sounding, then of loud boisterous, non-sensical behaviour. 
Of such it is said, that they are not able to maintain their 
position when they become manifest before the eye of God 
(ixfr as in ci. 7 manifest before any one, from "IM to come 
forward, be visible far off, be distinctly visible), jin 'h$> are 
those who work (oi ip^a^psvoi Mat. vii. 23) iniquity; px 
breath (avejio?) is sometimes trouble, in connection with 
which one pants, sometimes wickedness, in which there is 
not even a trace of any thing noble, true, or pure. Such 
men Jahve hates; for if He did not hate evil (xi. 5), His 
love would not be a holy love. In 3?3 i-)2% '"Q' ! J is the usual 
form in combination when the plur. is used, instead of '"pin. 
It is the same in lviii. 4. The style of expression is also 
Davidic in other respects, viz. HCnoi CO" B*X as in lv. 24, and 
"CK as in ix. 6, cf. xxi. 11. 3^n (in Amos, ch. vi. 8 3NP) 
appears to be a secondary formation from 3iy, like 3MFI to 
desire, from D3K, and therefore to be of a cognate root 
with the Aram. oyj to despise, treat with indignity, and the 
Arabic 'aib a stain (cf. on Lam. ii. 1). The fact that, as 
Hengstenberg has observed, wickedness and the wicked are 
described in a sevenfold manner is perhaps merely accidental. 
Vers. 8 — 10. Since the Psalm is a morning hymn, the 
futt. in ver. 8 state what he, on the contrary, may and will 
do (lxvi. 13). By the greatness and fulness of divine favour 
(lxix. 14) he has access (euroSov, for tf2 means, according 
to its root, "to enter") to the sanctuary, and he will accord- 
ingly repair thither to-day. It is the tabernacle on Zion in 
which was the ark of the covenant that is meant here. That 

* On the rule, according to which here, as in , Vj""? ver. 9 and the 
like, a simple S/iebd mobile goes over into Chaleph pathach with Gqfa pre- 
ceding it, vid. the observations on giving a faithful representation of the 
0. T. text according to the Masora in the Luther. Zeittchr. 1863. S. 411. 
The Babylonian Ben-Naphtali (abont 910) prefers the simple Sheb& in 
snch cases, as also in others; Ben-Asher of the school of Tiberias, whom 
the Masora follows, and whom consequently our Masoretic text ought 
to follow, prefers the Chaleph, vid. Psalter ii. 460 — *t>7. 

Digitized by 


PSALM V. 8—10. 123 

daily liturgical service was celebrated there must be assumed, 
since the ark of the covenant is the sign and pledge of Jah- 
ve's presence; and it is, moreover, attested by 1 Chron. xvi. 
37 sq. It is also to be supposed that sacrifice was offered 
daily before the tabernacle. For it is not to be inferred 
from 1 Chron. xvi, 39 sqq. that sacrifice was only offered 
regularly on the Bama (high place) in Gibeon before the 
Mosaic tabernacle.* It is true sacrifice was offered in Gibeon, 
where the old tabernacle and the old altars (or at least the 
altar of burnt-offering) were, and also that after the removal 
of the ark to Zion both David (1 Chron. xxi. 29 sq.) and 
Solomon (1 Kings iii. 4, 2 Chron. i. 2 — 6) worshipped and 
sacrificed in Gibeon. But it is self-evident sacrifices might 
have been offered where the ark was, and that even with 
greater right than in Gibeon; and since both David, upon 
its arrival (2 Sam. vi. 17 sq.), and Solomon after his accession 
(1 Kings iii. 15), offered sacrifices through the priests who 
were placed there, it is probable, — and by a comparison 
of the Davidic Psalms not to be doubted, — that there was a 
daily service, in conjunction with sacrifices, before the ark 
on Zion. 

But, moreover, is it really the }nh on Zion which is 
meant here in ver. 8 by the house of God? It is still main- 
tained by renowned critics that the tabernacle pitched by 
David over the sacred ark is never called Tl no or ^3>H or 
71 p#0 or uftpO or Bhp. But why could it not have all these 
names? We will not appeal to the fact that the house of 
God at Shilo (1 Sam. i. 9, iii. 3) is called no and 71 ^OTI, 
since it may be objected that it was really more of a temple 
than a tabernacle, 4 '* although in the same book, ch. ii. 22 it 
is called "ijflo ^Tfc, and in connection with the other appel- 
lations the poetic colouring of the historical style of 1 Sam. 

* Thus, in particular, Stahelin, Zur Krilik der Psalmen in the Deutseh. 
Morgenl. Zeittchr, vi (1852) S. 108 and Zur Einleitung in die Ptalmcn. 
An academical programme, 1859. 4to. 

** vid. C. H. Graf, Commentalio de templo Silonensi ad illutlrandam 
locum Jud. xviii. 30, 31. (1855, 4to.), in which he seeks to prove that the 
sanctuary in Shilo was a temple to Jahve that lasted until the dissolution 
of the kingdom of Israel. 

Digitized by 


124 PSALM V. 8— 1U 

i. — iii. is to be taken into consideration. Moreover, we put 
aside passages like Ex. xxiii. 19, xxxiv. 26, since it may 
be said that the fnture Temple was present to the mind of 
the Lawgiver. But in Josh. vi. 24, 2 Sam. xii. 20, the sanc- 
tuary is called 71 D'3 without being conceived of as a temple. 
Why then cannot the tabernacle, which David pitched for 
the ark of the covenant when removed to Zion (2 Sam. vi. 
17), be called 71 IV3? It is only when bnx and rv? are placed 
in opposition to one another that the latter has the notion of 
a dwelling built of more solid materials; but in itself beii 
(bet) in Semitic is the generic term for housing of every kind 
whether it be made of wool, felt, and hair-cloth, or of earth, 
stone, and wood; consequently it is just as much a tent as 
a house (in the stricter sense of the word), whether the latter 
be a hut built of wood and clay or a palace.* If a dwelling- 
house is frequently called ^DN, then a tent that any one dwells 
in may the more naturally be called his tV3. And this we 
find is actually the case with the dwellings of the patriarchs, 
which, although they were not generally solid houses (Gen. 
xxxiii. 17), are called no (Gen. xxvii. 15). Moreover, by>n 
(from by — bt2 to hold, capacem esse), although it signifies 
a palace does not necessarily signify one of stone , for the 
heavens are also called Jahve's byri ,e. g. xviii. 7, and not ne- 
cessarily one of gigantic proportions, for even the Holy of 
holies of Solomon's Temple, and this par excellence, is called 
byTi, and once, 1 Kings vi. 3, rvan ^Jfl. Of the spaciousness 
and general character of the Davidic tabernacle we know in- 
deed nothing : it certainly had its splendour, and was not so 
much a substitute for the original tabernacle, which according 

* The Turkish Ramus says: "ouo is a house (Turk, em) in tit* 
signification 'of chane (Persic the same), whether it be made of hair, 
therefore a tent, or built of stone and tiles". And further on: "Beit 
originally signified a place specially designed for persons to retire to 

at night [from yylj he has passed the night, if it does not perhaps 

come from the W3, Arab, j, which stands next to it in this passage, 
vid. Job ii. 1 25] ; but later on the meaning was extended and the special 
reference to the night time was lost." Even at the present day the Bedain 
does not call his tent ahl, but always bit and in fact bit shdr ("l){to IV3), 
the modern expression for the older bit tvabar (hair-house). 

Digitized by 


PSALM V. 8—10. 125 

to the testimony of the chronicler remained in Gibeon, as 
a substitute for the Temple that was still to be built. But, 
however insignificant it may have been, Jahve had His throne 
there, and it was therefor) the fepn of a great king, just 
as the wall-less place in the open field where God mani- 
fested Himself with His angels to the homeless Jacob was 
07y>X rv? (Gen. xxviii. 17). 

Into this tabernacle of God, t. e. into its front court, 
will David enter (N13 with ace. as in lxvi. 13) this morning, 
there will he prostrate himself in worship, itpooxovetv (ninPETl 
reflexive of the Pilel Hints', Ges. § 75, rem. 18), towards 
(iX as in xxviii. 2, 1 Kings viii. 29, 35, cf. b xcix. 5, 9) 
Jahve's \tNp ^'P, i. e. the "V3/7, the Holy of holies xxviii. 
2, and that "in Thy fear", i. e. in reverence before Thee 
(ffenit. objectivus). The going into the Temple which David 
purposes, leads his thoughts on to his way through life, 
and the special 86t)oi?, which only begins here, moulds itself 
accordingly: he prays for God's gracious guidance as in 
xxvii. 11, lxxxvi. 11, and frequently. The direction of God, 
by which he wishes to be guided he calls n^'lS. Such is 
the general expression for the determination of conduct by 
an ethical rule. The rule, acting in accordance with which, 
God is called par excellence pns, is the order of salvation 
which opens up the way of mercy to sinners. When God 
forgives those who walk in this way their sins, and stands 
near to bless and protect them , He shews Himself not less 
j-TS (just), than when He destroys those who despise Him, 
in the heat of His rejected love. By this righteousness, which 
accords with the counsel and order of mercy, David prays 
to be led '"Hltf |J?dS, in order that the malicious desire of 
those who lie in wait for him may not be fulfilled, but put 
to shame, and that the honour of God may not be sullied 
by him. "nltf is equivalent to TllBto (Aquila 4<po8e6»v, Jerome 
insidiator) from the Pilel TT.IB' to fix one's eyes sharply upon, 
especially of hostile observation. David further prays that 
God will make his way (»'. e. the way in which a man must 
walk according to God's will) even and straight before him, 
the praying one, in order that he may walk therein without 
going astray and unimpeded. The adj. "ik* signifies both 

Digitized by 


126 PSALM V. 8-10. 

the straightneas of a line and the evenness of a surface. The 
fut. of the Hiph. "Vt^n is -pis'" in Prov. iv. 25, and accord- 
ingly the KeH substitutes for the imper. iKflD the correspond- 
ing form "it^n, just as in Isa. xlv. 2 it removes the Hiphil 
form -)B*'1N (cf. Gen. viii. 17 NS1D Keri NJPn), without any 
grammatical, but certainly not without some traditional 

'3 in ver. 10 is closely connected with r)yt& jynS : on ac- 
count of my way-layers, for the following are their charac- 
teristics, pj* is separated by 1JTB3 (-»VB3 lxii. 5) from rUIZJ 
the word it governs; this was the more easily possible as 
the usage of the language almost entirely lost sight of the 
fact that jiN is the construct of j\K, Ges. § 152, 1. In his 
mouth is nothing that should stand firm, keep its ground, 
remain the same (cf. Job xlii. 7 sq.). The singular suffix of 
1ITB3 has a distributive meaning: in ore uniuscujusque eorun. 
Hence the sing, at once passes over into the plur. : niin C3")p 
their inward part, i. e. that towards which it goes forth and 
in which it has its rise (vid. xlix. 12) is rwn corruption, from 

nin which comes from frri = ^Ijo to yawn, gape, x«" v8lv » hiare, 

a yawning abyss and a gaping vacuum, and then, inasmuch 
as, starting from the primary idea of an empty space, the ver- 
bal significations lib ere ferri (especially from below upwards) 
and more particularly animo ad or in aliquid ferri are deve- 
loped, it obtains the pathological sense of strong desire, 
passion, just as it does also the intellectual sense of a loose 
way of thinking proceding from a self-willed tendency (vid. 
Fleischer on Job xxxvii. 6). In Hebrew the prevalent mean- 
ing of the word is corruption, lvii. 2, which is a metaphor 
for the abyss, barathrum, (so far, but only so far Schultens 
on Prov. x. 3 is right), and proceeding from this meaning it 
denotes both that which is physically corruptible (Job. vi. 
30) and, as in the present passage and frequently, that which 
is corruptible from an ethical point of view. The meaning 
strong desire, in which njn looks as though it only differed 
from njN in one letter, occurs only in lii. 9, Prov. x. 3, Mic. 
vii. 3. The substance of their inward part is that which is 
corruptible in every way, and their throat, as the organ of 

Digitized by 


PSALM V. 11-13. 127 

speech, as in cxv. 7, cxlix. 6, cf. lxix. 4, is (perhaps a figure 
connected with the primary meaning of nun) a grave, which 
yawns like the jaws, which open and snatch and swallow 
down whatever comes in their way. To this "they make smooth 
their tongue" is added as a circumstantial clause. Their 
throat is thus formed and adapted, while they make smooth 
their tongue (cf. Prov. ii. 16), in order to conceal their real 
design beneath flattering language. From this meaning, 
p^nn directly signifies to flatter in xxxvi. 3, Prov. xxix. 5. 
The last two lines of the strophe are formed according to 
the caesura schema. This schema is also continued in the 
concluding strophe. 

Vers. 11 — 13. The verb CK'N or cCN unites in itself 
the three closely allied meanings of becoming guilty (e. g. 
Lev. v. 19), of a feeling of guilt (Lev. v. 4 sq.), and of expia- 
tion (Ps. xxxiv. 22 sq.) ; just as the verbal adj. DB'K also signi- 
fies both liable to punishment and expiating, and the sub- 
stantive Qttfct both the guilt to be expiated and the expiation. 
The Hiph. D'B'Nn signifies to cause any one to render the 
expiation due to his fault, to make him do penance. As 
an exception God is here, in the midst of the Jehovic Psalms, 
called D'H'Sk, perhaps not altogether unintentionally as being 
God the Judge. The jo of CfvrflSJJ'ap (with Gaja by the JO 
and a transition of the counter- tone Metheg into G algal, as 
in Hos. xi. 6 into Meq/Ia, vid. Psalter ii. 526) is certainly 
that of the cause in Hos. xi. 6, but here it is to be explained 
with Olsh. and Hitz. according to Sir. xiv. 2, Judith xi. 6 
(cf. Hos. x. 6) : may they fall from their own counsels, i. e. 
founder in the execution of them. Therefore |0 in the sense 
of "down from, away", a sense which the parallel lon"jn, 
thrust them away (cf. WFi from nrn xxxvi. 13), presupposes. 
The a of 3"i3 is to be understood according to John viii. 21, 
24 *ye shall die Iv tal« ipapttaic ojuiv". The multitude of 
their transgressions shall remain unforgiven and in this 
state God is to cast them into hades. The ground of this 
terrible prayer is set forth by "-p no >3. The tone of no 
for a well-known reason (cf. e. g., xxxvii. 40, lxiv. 11, 
lxxii. 17) has retreated to the penult, rne, root "id, prop, 
to be or hold one's self stiff towards any one, compare 

Digitized by 


128 PSALM V. 11—13. 

rte, TUj> t to press and stiffen against one another in wrestling, 
,5vLo, («)Uj> to struggle against anything, whether with out- 
ward or mental and moral opposition: Their obstinacy is not 
obstinacy against a man, but against God Himself; their sin is, 
therefore, Satanic and on that account unpardonable. All the 
prayers of this character are based upon the assumption ex- 
pressed in vii. 13, that those against whom they are directed 
do not wish for mercy. Accordingly their removal is prayed 
for. Their removal will make the ecclesia pressa free and there- 
fore joyous. From this point of view the prayer in ver. 12 is 
inspired by the prospect of the result of their removal. The 
futt. do not express a wish, but a consequence. The division of 
the verse is, however, incorrect. The rise of the first half of 
the verse closes with "-ja (the pausal form by Pazer), its fall is 
!3£V cb)yb', then the rise begins anew in the second half, ex- 
tending to 12 which ought likewise to be pointed "-J2, and '2i"IK 
TjOB? is its fall. 1d'5j; 7]Dni (from r\DT\ Hiph. of ^Dxci. 4) is awk- 
ward in this sequence of thoughts. Hupfeld and Hitzig render 
it: "they shall rejoice for ever whom Thou defendest"; but 
then it ought not only to be pointed 1J3"V, but the 1 must 
also be removed, and yet there is nothing to characterise 
lO'^y ~\Dr\ as being virtually a subject. On the other hand 
it does not harmonise with the other consecutive futures. 
It must therefore, like &&*>, be the optative: "And do Thou 
defend them, then shall those who love Thy name rejoice in 
Thee". And then upon this this joy of those who love the name 
of Jahve (i. e. God in His revelation of Himself in redemp- 
tion) lxix. 37, cxix. 132, is based by nntns from a fact of 
universal experience which is the sum of all His historical 
self-attestations. 10^' is used instead of orvi>g as a graver 
form of expression, just like IDrv^JTI for CIT"n as an indig- 
nant one. The form w^JTl (Ges. § 63, 3) is chosen instead 
of the is^JP found in xxv. 2, lxviii. 4, in order to assist the 
rhythm. The /kM. are continuative. 13"lt2J?Fl, tinges eum, is not 
a contracted Hiph. according to 1 Sam. xvii. 25, but Kal as- 
in 1 Sam. xxiii. 26; here it is used like the Piel in viii. 6 
with a double accusative. The n|S (from JiS^jLo tned. Waw, 
iEthiop. ps to hedge round, guard) is a shield of a largest 

Digitized by 


PSALM VI. 129 

dimensions; larger than pc 1 Kings z. 16 sq. (cf. 1 Sam. 
xvii. 7, where Goliath has his D3S borne by a shield-bearer). 
PUS? "like a shield" is equivalent to: as with a shield (Ges. 
§ 118, 3, rem.). The name of God, mn\ is correctly drawn 
to the second member of the verse by the accentuation, in 
order to balance it with the first; and for this reason the 
first clause does not begin with mrp nrws here as it does 
elsewhere (iv. 9, xii. 8). pjn delight, goodwill, is also a 
synonym for the divine blessing in Deut. xxxiii. 23. 



2 JAHYE, not in Thy wrath rebuke me, 
And not in Thy hot displeasure chasten me ! 

3 Be gracious unto me, for I am fading away; 
Oh heal me, Jahve, for my bones are affrighted, 

4 And my soul is affrighted exceedingly — 
And Thou, Jahve, how long? I 

5 Return, Jahve, rescue my soul, 
Save me for Thy mercy's sake. 

6 For in death there is no remembrance of Thee, 
In Sheol who can give Thee thanks? 

7 I am exhausted with my groaning, 
Every night make I my bed to swim — 
With my tears I flood my couch. 

8 Sunken is mine eye with grief, 

It is grown old because of all mine oppressors. 

9 Depart from me all ye who deal wickedly 1 
For Jahve hath heard my loud weeping, 

10 Jahve hath heard my supplication: 
Jahve will accept my prayer. 

11 All mine enemies shall be ashamed and affrighted 

They shall turn away ashamed suddenly. 

The morning prayer, Ps. v., is followed by a "Psalm of 
David*, which, even if not composed in the morning, looks 

VOL. I 9 

Digitized by 


130 PS4I.M VL 

hack upon a sleepless, tearful night. It consists of three 
strophes. In the middle one, which is a third longer than 
the other two, the poet, by means of a calmer outpouring 
of his heart, struggles on from the cry of distress in the first 
strophe to the believing confidence of the last. The hostility 
of men seems to him as a punishment of divine wrath, and 
consequently (but this is not so clearly expressed as in 
Ps. xxxviii., which is its counterpart) as the result of his sin; 
and this persecution, which to him has God's wrath behind 
it and sin as the sting of its bitterness, makes him sorrow* 
ful and sick even unto death. Because the Psalm contains 
no confession of sin, one might be inclined to think that the 
church has wrongly reckoned it as the first of the seven 
(probably selected with reference to the seven days of the 
week) Psalmi pcenitentiales (vi. xxxii. xxxviii. li. cii. exxx. 
cxliii.). A. H. Francke in his Introductio in Psalterium says, 
it is rather Psalmus precatorius hominis gravissimi tentati a 
pcenitente probe distinguendi. But this is a mistake. The man 
who is tempted is distinguished from a penitent man by this, 
that the feeling of wrath is with the one perfectly ground- 
less and with the other well-grounded. Job was one who 
was tempted thus. Our psalmist, however, is a penitent, who 
accordingly seeks that the punitive chastisement of God, as 
the just God, may for him be changed into the loving chastise- 
ment of God, as the merciful One. 

We recognise here the language of penitently believing 
prayer, which has been coined by David. Compare ver. 2 
with xxxviii. 2; 3 with xli. 5; 5 with cix. 26; 6 with xxx. 10; 
7 with lxix.4; 8 with xxxi. 10; 11 with xxxv. 4. 26. The 
language of Heman's Psalm is perceptibly different, comp. 
ver. 6 with lxxxvii. 11 — 13; 8 with lxxxviii. 10. And the 
corresponding strains in Jeremiah (comp. ver. 2, xxxviii. 2 
with Jer. x. 24; 3 and 5 with Jer. xvii. 14; 7 with Jer. xlv. 
3) are echoes, which to us prove that the Psalm belongs to 
an earlier age, not that it was composed by the prophet 
(Hitzig). It is at once probable, from the almost anthologi- 
cal relationship in which Jeremiah stands to the earlier 
literature, that in the present instance also he is the repro- 
ducer. And this idea is confirmed by the fact that in ch. x. 25, 

Digitized by 


PSALM VI. 2— t. 131 

after language resembling the Psalm before us, he continues 
in words taken from Ps. lxxix. 6 sq. When Hitzig maintains 
that David could no more have composed this disconcert* 
edly despondent Psalm than Isaiah could the words in Isa. 
xxi. 3, 4, we refer, in answer to him, to Isa. xxii. 4 and to 
the many attestations that David did weep, 2 Sam. i. 12, 
iii. 32, xii. 21, xv. 30, xix. 1. 

The accompanying musical direction runs: To the Precen- 
tor, with accompaniment of stringed instruments, upon the Octave. 
TheLXX. translates i»r£p T7j; 67867);, and the Fathers associate 
with it the thought of the octave of eternal happiness, 4j 67867} 
Ixsfvj), as Gregory of Nyssa says, tjt£« iotiv 6 £<pe£ij« ctlcov. 
But there is no doubt whatever that rv;n3B'n~fyj has refer- 
ence to music. It is also found by Ps. xii., and besides in 
1 Ghron. xv. 21. From this latter passage it is at least clear 
that it is not the name of an instrument. An instrument 
with eight strings could not have been called an octave in- 
stead of an octachord. In that passage they played upon 
nablas rwbybv, and with citherns rTO'Ofc'rrijy. If DIO^ de- 
notes maidens = maidens' voices t. e. soprano, then, as it 
seems, rWEtfri is a designation of the bass, and rVJ'DBTr^y 
equivalent to aW ottava bassa. The fact that Ps. xlvi., which 
is accompanied by the direction mo^jr^j?, is a joyous song, 
whereas Ps. vi. is a plaintive one and Ps. xii. not less gloomy 
and sad, accords with this. These two were to be played in 
the lower octave, that one in the higher. 

Vers. 2 — 4. There is a chastisement which proceeds 
from God's love to the man as being pardoned and which 
is designed to purify or to prove him, and a chastisement 
which proceeds from God's wrath against the man as stri- 
ving obstinately against, or as fallen away from, favour, and 
which satisfies divine justice. Ps. xciv. 12, cxviii. 17, Prov. 
iii. 11 sq. speak of this loving chastisement. The man who 
should decline it, would act against his own salvation. Ac- 
cordingly David, like Jeremiah (ch. x. 24), does not pray for 
the removal of the chastisement but of the chastisement in 
wrath, or what is the same thing, of the judgment proceed- 

Digitized by 


132 PSALM VL 2—4. 

ing from wrath [Zorngericht]. ?)B«3 and ^nora stand in the 
middle, between i?N and the verbs, for the sake of emphasis. 
Hengatenberg indeed finds a different antithesis here. He 
says: "The contrast is not that of chastisement in love with 
chastisement in wrath, but that of loving rescue in contrast 
with chastisement, which always proceeds from the principle 
of wrath". If what is here meant is, that always when God 
chastens a man his wrath is the true and proper motive, it 
is an error, for the refutation of which one whole book of 
the Bible, viz. the Book of Job, has been written. For there 
the friends think that God is angry with Job; but we know 
from the prologue that, so far from being angry with him, 
he on the contrary glories in him. Here, in this Psalm, as- 
suming David to be its author, and his adultery the occasion 
of it, it is certainly quite otherwise. The chastisement under 
which David is brought low, has God's wrath as its motive: 
it is punitive chastisement and remains such, so long as David 
remains fallen from favour. But if in sincere penitence he 
again struggles through to favour, then the punitive becomes 
a loving chastisement: God's relationship to him becomes 
an essentially different relationship. The evil, which is the 
result of his sin and as such indeed originates in the prin- 
ciple of wrath, becomes the means of discipline and purify- 
ing which love employs, and this it is that he here implores 
for himself. And thus Dante Alighieri* correctly and beauti- 
fully paraphrases the verse: 

Signor, non mi riprender con furore, 

E non voler correggermi con ira, 

Ma con dolcezza e con perfetto amore. 

In >ijp| David prays God to let him experience His loving- 
kindness and tender mercy in place of the punishment He 
has a right to inflict ; for anguish of soul has already reduced 
him to the extreme even of bodily sickness: he is withered 
up and weary, bbvtt has Palhach, and consequently seems 
to be the 3 pers. Pul. as in Joel i. 10, Nah. i. 4; but this 

* Provided he is the author of / tttte Salmi Ptnitmziali irasportaH 
alia volgar poesia, vid. Dante Alighieri's Lyric poems, translated and 
annotated by Kannegiesser and Witte (1842) I 203 sq., ii. 208 sq. 

Digitized by 


PSALM VI. 5—8 133 

cannot be according to the rules of grammar. It is an ad- 
jective, like jjjn, lasts', with the passive pointing. The forma- 
tion ^on (from ^dn Juci with the primary meaning to stretch 
out lengthwise) is analogous to the IX. and XI. forms of 
the Arabic verb which serve especially to express colours 
and defects (Caspari § 59). The two words 'j« bbKH have 
the double accent Mercha- Mahpach together, and according 
to the exact mode of writing (vid. Baer in my Psalter ii. 492) 
the Mahpach, (the sign resembling Mahpach or rather Jethib), 
ought to stand between the two words, since it at the same 
time represents the Makkeph. The principal tone of the 
united pair, therefore, lies on ani; and accordingly the adj. 
^>CN is shortened to hbcx (cf. CIOTH, "?]? 3BH, DO-]0, and the 
like) — a contraction which proves that bhfiit is not treated 
as part. Put. (- b^DNO), for its characteristic a is unchange- 
able. The prayer for healing is based upon the plea that 
his bones (Job iv. 14, Isa. xxxviii. 13) are affrighted. We 
have no German word exactly corresponding to this ^£QJ 
which (from the radical notion "to let go", cogn. r£|) ex- 
presses a condition of outward overthrow and inward con- 
sternation, and is therefore the effect of fright which discon- 
certs one and of excitement that deprives one of self-control.* 
His soul is still more shaken than his body. The affliction 
is therefore not a merely bodily ailment in which only a 
timorous man loses heart. God's love is hidden from him. 
God's wrath seems as though it would wear him completely 
away. It is an affliction beyond all other afflictions. Hence 
he enquires: And Thou, Jahve, how long? I Instead ot 
DDK it is written n«, which the Keri says is to be read HFIK, 
while in three passages (Num. xi. 15, Deut. v. 24, Ezek. xxviii. 
14) nN is admitted as masc. 

Vers. 5 — 8. God has turned away from him, hence the 
prayer rP1B>, viz. ^«. The tone of nast* is on the ult., be- 
cause it is assumed to be read o'"IN roitt'. The ultima accen- 

t *: t 

tuation is intended to secure its distinct pronunciation to 
the final syllable of D21B', which is liable to be drowned and 

• We have translated Dr. Delitzsch's word ertchrecht literally— the 
*exe& of the Authorized Version seems hardly equal to the meaning. 

Digitized by 


134 PSALM VL 5-8. 

escape notice in connection with the coming together of the 
two aspirates (vid. on iii. 8). May God turn to him again, 
rescue (^n fromv6n, which is transitive inHehr. and Aram., 

to free, expedire, exuere, Arab. yaJLi to be pure, prop, to 
be loose, free) his soul, in which his affliction has taken 
deep root, from this affliction, and extend to him salvation 
on the ground of His mercy towards sinners. He founds 
this cry for help upon his yearning to be able still longer 
to praise God, — a happy employ, the possibility of which 
would be cut off from him if he should die. "pt, as frequently 
T3in, is used of remembering one with reverence and honour; 
mlh (from rPl) has the dat. honoris after it. bwtf, ver. 6 b t 
alrfi (Apoc. xx. 13), alternates with niD. Such is the name 
of the underground abode of the dead, the gate of which is 
the grave, the yawning abyss, into which everything mortal 
descends (from ^>«B> = W JL,, to be loose, relaxed, to hang 
down, sink down: a sinking in, that which is sunken in*, 
a depth). The writers of the Psalms all (which is no small 
objection against Maccabean Psalms) know only of one 
single gathering-place of the dead in the depth of the earth, 
where they indeed live, but it is only a quasi life, because 
they are secluded from the light of this world and, what is 
the most lamentable, from the light of God's presence. 
Hence the Christian can only join in the prayer of ver. 6 of 
this Psalm and similar passages (xxx. 10, lxxxviii. 11 — 13, 
cxv. 17, Isa. xxxviii. 18 sq.) so far as he transfers the notion 
of hades to that of gehenna. ** In hell there is really no 
remembrance and no praising of God. David's fear of death 
as something in itself unhappy, is also, according to its 


* The form corresponds to the Arabic form Jlii, which, though 

originally a verbal abstract, has carried over the passive meaning into 
the province of the concrete, e. g. kitab = maktib and UM, WpN » 
ma'lM = mdb&d (the feared, revered One). 

** An adumbration of this relationship of Christianity to the religion 
of the Old Testament is the relationship of Islam to the religion of the 
Arab wandering tribes, which is called the "religion of Abraham" (Din 
lbr&Mm), and knows no life after death; while Islam has taken from 
the later Judaism and from Christianity the hope of a resurrection Mid 
heavenly blessedness. 

Digitized by 


PSALM VI. 8—10. 135 

ultimate ground, nothing but the fear of an unhappy death. 
In these "pains of hell" he is wearied with (3 as in lxix. 4) 
groaning, and bedews his couch every night with a river of 
tears. Just as the Hiph. nnfrn signifies to cause to swim 
from Pints' to swim, so the Hiph. riDDH signifies to dissolve, 
cause to melt, from HOC (cogn. CQD) to melt. njTD"}, in 
Arabic a nam. unit, a tear, is in Hebrew a flood of tears. 

In ver. 8 WJ? does not signify my "appearance" (Num. xi. 
7), but, as becomes clear from xxxi. 10, lxxxviii. 10, Job xyii. 
7, "my eye"; the eye reflects the whole state of a man's health. 
The verb BWy appears to be a denominative from u/y. to be 
moth-eaten.* The signification senescere for the verb pny is 
more certain. The closing words '"pis-tea (cf. Num. x. 9 
"Tjj&n ian the oppressing oppressor, from the root is yo to 
press, squeeze, and especially to bind together, constringere, 
coartare**), in which the writer indicates, partially at least, 
the cause of his grief (DP?, in Job xviii. 7 B'JD), are as it 
were the socket into which the following strophe is inserted. 

Vers. 9 — 11. Even before his plaintive prayer is ended 
the divine light and comfort come quickly into his heart, as 
Frisch says in his "Neuklingende Rarfe Davids*. His enemies 
mock him as one forsaken of God, but even in the face of 
his enemies he becomes conscious that this is not his con- 
dition. Thrice in vers. 9, 10 his confidence that God will 
answer him flashes forth: He hears his loud sobbing, the voice 
of his weeping that rises towards heaven, He hears his sup- 
plication, and He graciously accepts his prayer. The two- 
fold yets* expresses the fact and nj?J its consequence. That 
which he seems to have to suffer, shall in reality be the lot 
of his enemies, viz. the end of those who are rejected of God: 

* Renchlin in his grammatical analysis of the seven Penitential 
Psalms, which he published in 1512 after his LI. /// de RudimenUt 
Hebraicit (1506), explains it thus: fltftfy Verminavit. Sic a vermibus 
dictum qui turbant res claras puras et nitidat, and in the Rudim. p. 412: 
Turbatut est a furore oculus meus, corrosus et obfuscatus, quasi vitro la- 
ternee obduclus. 

** In Arabic T^ dir is tie wcrd for a step-mother as the oppiessvt 
of the step-children ; and TjS» iirr, a concubine as the oppressor of hut" 

Digitized by 



they shall be put to shame. The B>12, Syr. zks, Chald. rina, 
pri3, which we meet with here for the first time, is not con- 
nected with the Arab. >-•.$? but (since the Old Arabic as a 
rule has i^asa mediating vowel between vf and z, n) with 
£>L which signifies "to turn up and scatter about things 
that lie together (either beside or upon each other)* eruere 
et diruere, disturbare, — a root which also appears in the 

8 - 
reduplicated form v&ot to root up and disperse, whence co 

sorrow and anxiety, according to which therefore \tft2 (= tfo 

as £>\S — <£>*?) prop, signifies disturbare, to be perplexed, 
lose one's self-control, and denotes shame according to a 
similar, but somewhat differently applied conception to 
confundi, oofxeioftai, ouYXuveo&au ^nsjl points back to vers. 
2, 3: the lot at which the malicious have rejoiced, shall come 
upon themselves. As is implied in wfa\ ot'}, a higher power 
turns back the assailants filled with shame (ix. 4, xxxv. 4). 
What an impressive finish we have here in these three 
Milelsjashubujebdshn raga, in relation to the tripping mea- 
sure of the preceding words addressed to his enemies I And, 
if not intentional, yet how remarkable is the coincidence, that 
shame follows the involuntary reverse of the foes, and that 
1Bb> in its letters and sound is the reverse of O&M What 
music there is in the Psalter I If composers could but under- 
stand it 11 


2 JAHVE, my God, in Thee do I hide myself; 

Save me from all my persecutors, and deliver met 
8 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, 

Bending it in pieces while there is none to deliver. 

4 Jahve, my God, if I have done this, 
If iniquity cling to my hands, 

5 If I have rewarded evil to him that was at peace with me 
And plundered mine enemy without cause: 

Digitized by 



€ Then let the enemy persecute my soul and take [itj, 
And tread down my life to the earth, 
And lay my dignity in the dust. (Seta.) 

7 Arise, Jahve, in Thine anger, 

Lift up Thyself against the rage of mine oppressors, 
And awake for me, Thou hast indeed arranged justicel 

8 And let the host of the nations stand round about Thee 
And over it do Thou return again on highl 

9 Jahve shall judge the peoples — 

Jahve, judge me according to my righteousness and my 
innocence in met 

10 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, 

establish the righteous, 
Thou art He who trieth the hearts and reins, a just God. 

11 My shield is borne by Elohim, 

The Saviour of the upright in heart. 

12 Elohim is a righteous Judge 

And a God threatening day by day. 

13 If a man will not repent, He whetteth His sword, 
He hath bent His bow and made it ready, 

14 And against him He directeth the weapon of death, 
His arrows He maketh burning arrows. 

15 Behold, he travaileth with evil : he conceiveth trouble 

and bringeth forth falsehood. 

16 He hath digged a pit and hollowed it out, 
And falleth into the hollow that he is making. 

17 His trouble cometh back upon his own head, 

And his violent dealing cometh down upon his own pate. 

18 I will give thanks to Jahve according to His righteousness, 
And will sing praise to the name of Jahve, the Most High. 

In the second part of Ps. vi. David meets his enemies 
with strong self-confidence in God. Ps. vii., which even 
Hitzig ascribes to David, continues this theme and exhibits 
to us, in a prominent example taken from the time of per- 
secution under Saul, his purity of conscience and joyousness 
of faith. One need only read 1 Sam. xxiv. — xxvi. to see how 
this Psalm abounds in unmistakeable references to this por- 

Digitized by 



tion of David's life. The superscribed statement of the events 
that gave rise to its composition point to this. Such state- 
ments are found exclusively only by the Davidic Psalms.* 
The inscription runs: Shiggajon of David, which he sang to 
Jahve on account of the sayings of Cush a Benjamite. "HIPr^H 
is intentionally chosen instead of b% which has other func- 
tions in these superscriptions. Although *Dl and vpi can 
mean a thing, business, affairs (Ex. xxii. 8, 1 Sam. x. 2, and 
freq.) and n3T^g "in reference to" (Deut. iv. 21, Jer. vii. 22) 
or "on occasion of* (Jer. xiv. 1), still we must here keep to 
the most natural signification : "on account of the words 
(speeches)". Cush (LXX. falsely Xooot — ^b*q; Luther, like- 
wise under misapprehension, "the Moor") must have been one 
of the many servants of Saul, his kinsman, one of the tale- 
bearers like Doeg and the Ziphites, who shamefully slandered 
David before Saul, and roused him against David. The 
epithet WDna (as in 1 Sam. ix. 1, 21, cf. iynsj-rth< 2 Sam. 
xx. 1) describes him as "a Benjamite" and does not assume 
any knowledge of him, as would be the case if it were y , D>jari, 
or rather (in accordance with biblical usage) own*)?. And 
this accords with the actual fact, for there is no mention of 
him elsewhere in Scripture history. The statement 'Ui naT^P 
is hardly from David's hand, but written by some one else, 
whether from tradition or from the O'D'D nan of David, 
where this Psalm may have been interwoven with the history 
of its occasion. Whereas there is nothing against our re- 
garding Tl^ jvatf, or at least p'jtS', as a note appended by 
David himself. 

Since ftjaf (after the form jV-jn a vision) belongs to the 
same class as superscribed appellations like TlDTD and ^2UT2, 
and the Tephilla of Habakkuk, ch. iii. 1 (vid. my Commentary), 
has the addition n'tfJB'-^j;, jVJB' must be the name of a kind of 
lyric composition, and in fact a kind described according to 
the rhythm of its language or melody. Now since PUB* means 
to go astray, wander, reel, and is cognate with yy& (whence 
comes ]tyiuf madness, a word formed in the same manner) 

* Viz. vii. liz. lvi. zzziv. Iii. lrii. czlii. liv. (belonging to the tun* 
of the persecution under Saul), iii. Ixiii (to the persecution under Ab- 
•olom), li. (David's adultery), lz. (the Syro-Ammonitish wart. 

Digitized by 


PSALM VII. 2—3. 130 

jpjtf may mean in the language of prosody a reeling poem, 
i". e. one composed in a most excited movement and with a 
rapid change of the strongest emotions, therefore a dithyr- 
limbic poem, and ntfvtt dithyrambic rhythms, variously and 
violently mixed together. Thus Ewald and Rodiger under- 
stand it, and thus even Tarnov, Geier , and other old expositors 
who translate it cantio erratica. What we therefore look for is 
that this Psalm shall consist, as Ainsworth expresses it 
(1627), "of sundry variable and wandering verses", that it shall 
wander through the most diverse rhythms as in a state of 
intoxication — an expectation which is in fact realized. The 
musical accompaniment also had its part in the general effect 
produced. Moreover, the contents of the Psalm corresponds 
to this poetic musical style. It is the most solemn pathos of 
exalted self-consciousness which is expressed in it. And in 
common with Hab. iii. it gives expression to the joy which 
arises from zealous anger against the enemies of God and 
from the contemplation of their speedy overthrow. Painful 
unrest, defiant self-confidence, triumphant ecstacy, calm 
trust, prophetic certainty — all these states of mind find 
expression in the irregular arrangement of the strophes of 
this Davidic dithyramb, the ancient customary Psalm for 
the feast of Purim (Sofrim xviii. § 2). 

Vers. 2 — 3. With this word of faith, love, and hope 
VVQn *|2(as in cxli. 8), this holy captatio benevolentia, David 
also begins in xi. 1, xvi. 1, xxxi. 2, cf. lxxi. 1. The perf. is 
inchoative: in Thee have I taken my refuge, equivalent to : in 
Thee do I trust. The transition from the multitude of his 
persecutors to the sing, in ver. 3 is explained most naturally, 
as one looks at the inscription, thus: that of the many the 
one who is just at the time the worst of all comes promin- 
ently before his mind. The verb Pfp from the primary signi- 
fication carpere (which corresponds still more exactly to *pn) 
means both to tear off and to tear in pieces (whence nsntt 
that which is torn in pieces); and p~\B from its primary 
signification frangere means both to break loose and to break 
in pieces, therefore to liberate, e. g. in cxxxvi. 24. and to 

Digitized by 


140 PSALM VII. 4-0. 

break in small pieces, 1 Kings xix. 11. The persecutors are 
conceived of as wild animals, as lions which rend their prey 
and craunch its bones. Thus blood-thirsty are they for his 
soul, i. e. his life. After the painful unrest of this first strophe, 
the second begins the tone of defiant self-consciousness. 

Vers. 4 — 6. According to the inscription ntfT points to 
the substance of those slanderous sayings of the Benjamite. 
With 'Q33 SjTB'j-ON one may compare David's words to Saul 
Jljn H}3 pN 1 Sam. xxiv. 12, xxvi. 18; and from this compari- 
son one will at once see in a small compass the difference 
between poetical and prose expression. n^>ttf(Targ. 'D^tf ^jnfr) 
is the name he gives (with reference to Saul) to him who stands 
on a peaceful, friendly footing with him, cf. the adject. Dlbtf, 
lv. 21, and oW t^N, xli. 10. The verb boi, cogn. 103, signi- 
fies originally to finish, complete, (root C3, 03, cf. np'3 to 
be or to make full, to gather into a heap). One says 31C3 ^pl 
and VI ^?J» and also without a material object "6y bol or 
^03 bene fecit or male fecit tnihi. But we join ipboi with jn 
according to the Targum and contrary to the accentuation, 
and not with 1'cbie (Olsh., Bottch., Hitz.), although abil? beside 
oWp, as e. g. "0*n beside *}3"]D might mean "requiting". The 
poet would then have written: jn ^61 'RO^ON i. e. if I have 
retaliated upon him that hath done evil to me. In ver. 5 
we do not render it according the meaning of ybri which is 
usual elsewhere: but rather I rescued . . . (Louis de Dieu, 
Ewald § 345, a, and Hupfeld). Why cannot yhn in accord- 
ance with its primary signification expedire, exuere (accord- 
ing to which even the signification of rescuing, taken exactly, 
does not proceed from the idea of drawing out, but of making 
loose, exuere vinclis) signify here exuere = spoliare, as it 
does in Aramaic ? And how extremely appropriate it is as 
an allusion to the incident in the cave, when David did not 
rescue Saul, but, without indeed designing to take ns^H, 
exuvice, cut off the hem of his garment! As Hengstenberg 
observes, "He affirms his innocence in the most general terms, 
thereby shewing that his conduct towards Saul was not any- 
thing exceptional, but sprang from his whole disposition and 
mode of action". On the 1 pers. fut. conv. with ah, vid. on 
iii. 6. Oj^l belongs to '"pis, like xxv. 3, lxix. 5. 

Digitized by 


PSALM VII. 4-6. 141 

In the apodosis, ver. 6, the fut. Kal of f]"T\ is made 
into three syllables, in a way altogether without example, 
since, by first making the Shebd audible, from rp*v it is become 
t)TV (like prjsj Gen. xxi. 6, T^riFI Ps. lxxiii. 9, Ex. ix. 23, 
njtt2B( xxxix. 13), and this is then sharpened by an euphonic 
Dag. forte.* Other ways of explaining it, as that by Ghajug 
= *)Tirv, or by Kimchi as a mixed form from Kal and Piel,** 
have been already refuted by Baer, Thorath Emeth, p. 33. 
This dactylic jussive form of Kal is followed by the regular 
jussives of ffiph. litn and |2B*. The rhythm is similar so that 
in the primary passage Ex. xt. 9, which also finds its echo 
in Ps. xviii. 38, — viz. iambic with anapsests inspersed. By 
its parallelism with 'B'W and >T), nl32 acquires the signifi- 
cation "my soul", as Saadia, Gecatilia and Aben-Ezra have 
rendered it — a signification which is secured to it by xvi. 9, 
xxx. 13, lvii. 9, cviii. 2, Gen. xlix. 6. Man's soul is his doxa, 
and this it is as being the copy of the divine doxa (Bibl. 
Psychol. S. 98, [tr.p. 119], and frequently). Moreover, "let 
him lay in the dust" is at least quite as favourable to this sense 
of H13D as to the sense of personal and official dignity (iii. 
4, iv. 3). To lay down in the dust is equivalent to: to lay in 
the dust of death, xxii. 16. is J? '£#, Isa. xxvi. 19, are the 
dead. According to the biblical conception the soul is ca- 
pable of being killed (Num. xxxv. 11), and mortal (Num. 
xxiii. 10). It binds spirit and body together and this bond 
is cut asunder by death. David will submit willingly to 
death in case he has ever acted dishonourably. 

Here the music is to strike up, in order to give intensity 
to the expression of this courageous confession. In the next 
strophe his affirmation of innocence rises to a challenging 
appeal to the judgment-seat of God and a prophetic certainty 
that that judgment is near at hand. 

* The Dag. is of the same kind as the Dag. in ^hci among nouns; 
Arabic popular dialect frratti (my horse), vid. Wetzstein's Inschriften 
S. 366. 

•• Pinsker's view, that the pointing *)TV is designed to leave the 
reader at liberty to choose between the reading fj'TV and 'Hl'Vt cannot 
be supported. There are no safe examples for the supposition that th» 
variations of tradition found expression in this way. 

Digitized by 


142 PSALM VII. 7— ». 

Vers. 7 — 9. In the consciousness of his own innocence 
he calls upon Jahve to sit in judgment and to do justice to 
His own. His vision widens and extends from the enemies 
immediately around to the whole world in its hostility to- 
wards Jahve and His anointed one. In the very same way 
special judgments and the judgment of the world are por- 
trayed side by side, as it were on one canvas, in the prophets. 
The truth of this combination lies in the fact of the final 
judgment being only the finale of that judgment which is in 
constant execution in the world itself. The language here 
takes the highest and most majestic flight conceivable. By 
DD-ip (Milra, as in iii. 8), which is one of David's words of 
prayer that he has taken from the lips of Moses (ix. 20, x. 12), 
he calls upon Jahve to interpose. The parallel is NiW~ lift 
Thyself up, shew Thyself in Thy majesty, xciv. 2, Isa. xxxiii. 
10. The anger, in which He is to arise, is the principle of His 
judicial righteousness. With this His anger He is to gird Him- 
self (lxxvi. 11) against the ragings of the oppressors of God's 
anointed one, i. e. taking vengeance on their many and mani- 
fold manifestations of hostility. n1"i2j? is a shorter form of the 
construct (instead of 0113JJ Job xl. 11, cf. xxi. 31) of !V}2$7 
which describes the anger as running over, breaking forth 
from within and passing over into words and deeds (cf. Arab. 

JLi used of water : it overflows the dam, of wrath: it breaks 
forth). It is contrary to the usage of the language to make 
EOStS'p the object to rriy in opposition to the accents, and it 
is unnatural to regard it as the accus. of direction — BCBto^ 
(xxxv. 23), as Hitzig does. The accents rightly unite rniy 
i^N: awake (stir thyself) for me t. e. to help me ('}N like 
"•riN^f? 1 ?, lix. 5). The view, that £VW is * nen precative and 
equivalent to nis: command judgment, is one that cannot be 
established according to syntax either here, or in lxxi. 3. It 
ought at least to have been n*IX1 with Warn consec. On the 
other hand the relative rendering: Thou who hast ordered 
judgment (Maurer, Hengst.), is admissible, but unnecessary. 
We take it by itself in a confirmatory sense, not as a cir- 
cumstantial clause: having commanded judgment (Ewald), 
but as a co-ordinate clause: Thju hast indeed enjoined the 
maintaining of right (Hupfeld). 

Digitized by 


P8ALM VII. 10—11. 143 

The psalmist now, so to spsak, arranges the judgment 
scene: the assembly of the nations is to form a circle round 
about Jahve, in the midst of which He will sit in judgment, 
and after the judgment He is to soar away (Gen. xvii. 22) 
aloft over it and return to the heights of heaven like a victor 
after the battle (see lxviii. 19). Although it strikes one as 
strange that the termination of the judgment itself is not 
definitely expressed, yet the rendering of Hupfeld and others: 
sit Thou again upon Thy heavenly judgment-seat to judge, 
is to be rejected on account of the nails' (cf. on the other 
hand xxi. 14) which is not suited to it; Dlia^ y\& can only 
mean Jahve's return to His rest after the execution of judg- 
ment. That which vers. 7 and 8 in the boldness of faith de- 
sire, the beginning of ver. 9 expresses as a prophetic hope, 
from which proceeds the prayer, that the Judge of the earth 
may also do justice to him (\jnDK| vindica me, as in xxvi. 
1, xxxv. 24) according to his righteousness and the purity 
of which he is conscious, as dwelling in him. ty is to be 
closely connected with 'an, just as one says ty vtfQi (Psychol. 
S. 152 [tr. p. 180]). That which the individual as ego, dis- 
tinguishes from itself as being in it, as subject, it denotes 
by 'bj?. In explaining it elliptically: "come upon me" (Ew., 
Olsh., Hupf.) this psychologically intelligible usage of the 
language is not recognised. On oh vid. on xxv. 21, xxvi. 1. 

Vers. 10 — 11. In this strophe we hear the calm lan- 
guage of courageous trust, to which the rising and calmly 
subsiding csesural schema is particularly adapted. He is now 
concerned about the cessation of evil: Oh let it come to an 
end ("idJ intransitive as in xii. 2, lxxvii. 9). . . His prayer is 
therefore not directed against the individuals as such but 
against the wickedness that is in them. This Psalm is the 
key to all Psalms which contain prayers against one's ene- 
mies. Just in the same manner jJprw is intended to express 
a wish; it is one of the comparatively rare voluntatives of 
the 2pers. (Ew. § 229): and mayst Thou be pleased to estab- 
lish. ... To the termination of evil which is desired cor- 
responds, in a positive form of expression, the desired secu- 
rity and establishment of the righteous, whom it had injured 
and whose continuance was endangered by it. jrpi is the 

Digitized by 


144 PSALM TIL 12 14. 

beginning of a circumstantial clause, introduced by 1, bat 
without the personal pronoun, which is not unfrequently 
omitted both in the leading participial clause, as in Isa. xxix. 
8 (which see), and in the minor participial clause as here 
(cf. lv. 20): cum sis — • quoniatn es. The reins are the seat of the 
emotions, just as the heart is the seat of the thoughts and 
feelings. Reins and heart lie naked before God — a descrip- 
tion of the only xapSiopK&ori)?, which is repeated in Jer. xi. 
20, xx. 12, Apoc. ii. 23. In the thesis the adjective is used 
with D^K in the sing, as in lxxviii. 56, cf. lviii. 12. God 
is the righteous God, and by his knowledge of the inmost 
part He is fully capable of always shewing Himself both 
righteous in anger and righteous in mercy according to the 
requirements and necessity of the case. Therefore David can 
courageously add Q>n'bN~^J? '33D, my shield doth God carry ; 
b (lxxxix. 19) would signify: He has it, it (my shield) belongs 
to Him, b]} (1 Ghron. xviii. 7) signifies: He bears it, or it 
one takes shield in the sense of protection: He has taken 
my protection upon Himself, has undertaken it (as in lxii. 
8, cf. Judges xix. 20), as He is in general the Saviour of all 
who are devoted to Him with an upright heart, t. e. a heart 
sincere, guileless (cf. xxxii. with ver. 2). o«is is intention- 
ally repeated at the end of the first two lines — the favourite 
palindrome, found more especially in Isa. xl. — lxvi. And to 
the mixed character of this Psalm belongs the fact of its 
being both Elohimic and Jehovic. From the calm language 
of heartfelt trust in God the next strophe passes over into 
the language of earnest warning, which is again more excited 
and somewhat after the style of didactic poetry. 

Vers. 12 — 14. If God will in the end let His wrath break 
forth, He will not do it without having previously given 
threatenings thereof every day, viz. to the ungodly, cf. Isa. 
lxvi. 14, Mai. i. 4. He makes these feel His Ojn beforehand 
in order to strike a wholesome terror into them. The sub- 
ject of the conditional clause 3iB^ N^~CN is any ungodly- 
person whatever; and the subject of the principal clause, as its 
continuation in ver. 14 shews, is God. If a man (any one) 
does not repent, then Jahve will whet His sword (cf. Deut. 
xxxii. 41). This sense of the words accords with the connec- 

Digitized by 


PSALM VII. 15—18. 145 

tion ; whereas with the rendering : "forsooth He (Elohim) will 
again whet His sword" (Bottch., Ew., Hupf.) aitfy which would 
moreover stand close by Weh\ (cf. e. g. Gen. xxx. 31), is mean- 
ingless; and the t6-CK of asseveration is devoid of purpose. 
Judgment is being gradually prepared, as the fut. implies; 
but, as the perff. imply, it is also on the other hand like a 
bow that is already strung against the sinner with the arrow 
pointed towards him, so that it can be executed at any mo- 
ment. |Jl3 of the making ready, and psn of the aiming, are 
used alternately. 1^>, referring to the sinner, stands first by 
way of emphasis as in Gen. xlix. 10, 1 Sam. ii. 3, and is 
equivalent to vbx, Ezek. iv. 3. "Burning" arrows are fire- 
arrows (0 , j?T, nip , T, malleoli); and God's fire-arrows are the 
lightnings sent forth by Him, xviii. 15, Zech. ix. 14. The 
fut. byjB[ denotes the simultaneous charging of the arrows 
aimed at the sinner, with the fire of His wrath. The case 
illustrated by Cush is generalised: by the sword and arrow 
the manifold energy of the divine anger is symbolised, and 
it is only the divine forbearance that prevents it from im- 
mediately breaking forth. The conception is not coarsely 
material, but the vividness of the idea of itself suggests the 
form of its embodiment. 

Vers. 15 — 18. This closing strophe foretells to the enemy 
of God, as if dictated by the judge, what awaits him; and 
concludes with a prospect of thanksgiving and praise. Man 
brings forth what he has conceived, he reaps what he has 
sown. Startingfrom this primary passage, we find the punish- 
ment which sin brings with it frequently represented under 
these figures of TVS) and lh\ ("P^ID, ^2n, Sn), JHT and ")Sj3, 
and first of all in Job xv. 35. The act, guilt, and punish- 
ment of sin appear in general as notions that run into one 
another. David sees in the sin of his enemies their self-de- 
struction. It is singular, that travail is first spoken of, and 
then only afterwards pregnancy. For ^sn signifies, as in 
Cant. viii. 5, &8ivsiv, not: to conceive (Hitz.). The Arab. 
habila (synonym of hamala) is not to conceive in distinction 
from being pregnant, but it is both: to be and to become 
pregnant. The accentuation indicates the correct relation- 
ship of the three members of the sentence. First of all comes 

VOL. I. 10 

Digitized by 


146 PSALM VII. 15—18. 

the general statement: Behold he shall travail with, i*. e. 
bring forth with writhing as in the pains of labour, fix, evil, 
as the result which proceeds from his wickedness. Then, by 
this thought being divided into its two factors (Hupf.) it goes 
on to say: that is, he shall conceive (concipere) ^cjj, and 
bear ~\0. The former signifies trouble, molestia, just as 
icovTjpia signifies that which makes ic6vov; the latter falsehood, 
viz. self-deception, delusion, vanity, inasmuch as the burden 
prepared for others, returns as a heavy and oppressive 
burden upon the sinner himself, as is said in ver. 17; cf. Isa. 
lix. 4, where jiN instead of "ij3B> denotes the accursed wages 
of sin which consist in the unmasking of its nothingness, 
and in the undeceiving of its self-delusion. He diggeth a 
pit for himself, is another turn of the same thought, lvii, 7, 
Eccl. x. 8. Ver. 16 a mentions the digging, and 16 b the sub- 
sequent falling into the pit; the aorist h&) is, for instance, 
like ver. 13b, xvi. 9, xxix. 10. The attributive ^?EP is vir- 
tually a genitive to nre', and is rightly taken by Ges. § 123, 
3, a as present : in the midst of the execution of the work 
of destruction prepared for others it becomes his own. The 
trouble, bcj?, prepared for others returns upon his own head 
CttW"l2, clinging to it, just as )Uhtrby signifies descending 
and resting upon it), and the violence, DCH, done to others, 
being turned back by the Judge who dwells above (Mic. i. 
12), descends upon his own pate (1"lP"]j3 with 6 by q, as e. g. in 
Gen. ii. 23). Thus is the righteousness of God revealed in 
wrath upon the oppressor and in mercy upon him who is 
innocently oppressed. Then will the rescued one, then will 
David, give thanks unto Jahve, as is due to Him after the 
revelation of His righteousness, and will sing of the name of 
Jahve the Most High (|V^> as an appended name of God is 
always used without the art., e. g., lvii. 3). In the revelation 
of Himself He has made Himself a name. He has, however, 
revealed Himself as the almighty Judge and Deliverer, as 
the God of salvation, who rules over everything that takes 
place here below. It is this name, which He has made by 
His acts, that David will then echo back to Him in his song 
of thanksgiving. 

Digitized by 





2 JAHVE, oar Lord, 

How excellent is Thy name in all the earth, 
Who hast covered the heavens with Thy glory! 

3 Out of the mouth of children and sucklings hast Thou 

founded a power, 
Because of Thine adversaries, 
To still the enemy and the revengeful. 

4 When I see Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, 
The moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained: 

5 What is mortal man, that Thou art mindful of him, 
And the son of man that Thou carest for himl 

6 And hast made him a little less than divine, 
And crowned him with glory and honour. 

7 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of 

Thy hands, 
Thou hast put all things under his feet : 

8 Sheep and oxen all together, 
And also the heasts of the field, 

9 The fowls of heaven and the fishes of the sea, 
Whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea. 

10 Jahve, our Lord, 

How excellent is Thy name in all the earth! 

Ps. vii. closed with a similar prospect of bis enemies 
being undeceived by the execution of the divine judgments 
to Ps. vi. The former is the pendant or companion to the 
latter, and enters into detail, illustrating it by examples. 
Now if at the same time we call to mind the fact, that Ps. vi., 
if it be not a morning hymn, at any rate looks back upon 
sleepless nights of weeping, then the idea of the arrangement 
becomes at once clear, when we find a hymn of the night 
following Ps. vi. with its pendant, Ps. vii. David composes 
even at night; Jahve's song, as a Korahite psalmist says of 
himself in xlii. 9, was his companionship even in the loneli- 


Digitized by 



ness of the night. The omission of any reference to the sun 
in ver. 4 shews that Ps. viii. is a hymn of this kind com- 
posed in the night, or at least one in which the writer trans- 
fers himself in thought to the night season. The poet has 
the starry heavens before him, he begins with the glorious 
revelation of Jahve's power on earth and in the heavens, and 
then pauses at man, comparatively puny man, to whom Jahve 
condescends in love and whom He has made lord over His 
creation. This Psalm, like Ps. civ. and others, is a lyric 
echo of the Mosaic account of the creation. Ewald calls it 
a flash of lightning cast into the darkness of the creation. 

Even Hitzig acknowledges David's authorship here; 
whereas Hupfeld is silent, and Olshausen says that nothing 
can be said about it. The idea, that David composed it 
when a shepherd boy on the plains of Judah, is rightly 
rejected again by Hitzig after he has been at the pains to 
support it. (This thought is pleasingly worked out by 
Nachtigal, Psalmen gesungen vor David's Thronbesteigung, 
1797, after the opinion of E. G. von Bengel, cum magna vert 
specie.) For, just as the Gospels do not contain any discourses 
of our Lord belonging to the time prior to His baptism, 
and just as the New Testament canon does not contain any 
writings of the Apostles from the time prior to Pentecost, so 
the Old Testament canon contains no Psalms of David belong- 
ing to the time prior to his anointing. It is only from that 
time, when he is the anointed one of the God of Jacob, that he 
becomes the sweet singer of Israel, on whose tongue is the 
word of Jahve, 2 Sam. xxiii. 1 sq. 

The inscription runs : To the Precentor, on the Gitlith, a 
Psalm of David. The Targum translates it super cithara, 
quam David de Gath attulit. According to which it is a Phi- 
listine cithern, just as there was (according to Athenseus 
and Pollux) a peculiar Phoenician and Garian flute played at 
the festivals of Adonis, called TfiTCP a? » an d also an Egyptian 
flute and a Doric lyre. All the Psalms bearing the inscrip- 
tion CVFllrr^jJ (viii. lxxxi. lxxxiv.) are of a laudatory charac- 
ter. The gittith was, therefore, an instrument giving forth 
a joyous sound, or (what better accords with its occurring 
exclusively in the inscriptions of the Psalms), a joyous me- 

Digitized by 


PSALM VIII. 2—3. M9 

lody, perhaps a march of the Gittite guard, 2 Sam. xv. 18 

Kurtz makes this Psalm into four tetrastichic strophes, 
by taking ver. 2 a b and ver. 10 by themselves as the opening 
and close of the hymn, and putting ver. 2 c (Thou whose 
majesty . . .) to the first strophe. But *it2/K is not rightly 
adapted to begin a strophe; the poet, we think, would in this 
case have written mn run ~&K nrw. 

Vers. 2 — 3. Here, for the first time, the subject speaking 
in the Psalm is not one individual, but a number of persons; 
and who should they be but the church of Jahve, which 
(as in Neh. x. 30) can call Jahve its Lord (laOTt*, like 'J'nx, 
from Ciix plur. excellentiie , Ges. § 108, 2); but knowing 
also at the same time that what it has become by grace it 
is called to be for the good of the whole earth ? The OB/ of 
God is the impress (cognate Arabic tvasm, a sign, Greek 
oij|*a) of His nature, which we see in His works of creation 
and His acts of salvation, a nature which can only be known 
from this visible and comprehensible representation (nomen 
= gnotnen).* This name of God is certainly not yet so known 
and praised everywhere, as the church to which it has been 
made known by a positive revelation can know and praise 
it; but, nevertheless, it, viz. the divine name uttered in 
creation and its works, by which God has made Himself 
known and capable of being recognised and named, is T~N 
amplum et gloriosum, everywhere through out the earth, even 
if it were entirely without any echo. The clause with ")B/K 
must not be rendered: Who , do Thou be pleased to put Thy glory 
upon the heavens (Gesenius even: quam tuam magnificentiam 
pone in ccelis), for such a use of the imperat. after *ib>n is un- 
heard of; and, moreover, although it is true a thought admis- 
sible in its connection with the redemptive history (lvii. 6, 12) 
is thus obtained, it is here, however, one that runs counter 
to the fundamental tone, and to the circumstances, of the 
Psalm. For the primary thought of the Psalm is this, that 

* cf. Oehler's art. Same in Hcrzog's Rcal-Encyhlopiidie. 

Digitized by 


150 PSALM VIII. 2—3. 

the God, whoso glory the heavens reflect, has also glorified 
Himself in the earth and in man; and the situation of the 
poet is this, that he has the moon and stars before his eyes: 
how then could he wish that heaven to be made glorious 
whose glory is shining into his eyesl It is just as impracti- 
cable to take n;n as a contraction of i"IJn:, like nPFl 2 Sam. 
xxii. 41, — PirXtf, as Ammonius and others, and last of all 
Bohl, have done, or with Thenius (Stud. u. Krit. 1860 S.712 f.) 
to read it so at once. For even if the thought : "which (the 
earth) gives (announces) Thy glory all over the heavens" 
is not contrary to the connection, and if ijj jro, lxviii. 34, 
and 1133 jPJ, Jer. xiii. 16, can be compared with this ]fO 
"lln, still the phrase by "lln jriJ means nothing but to lay 
majesty on any one, to clothe him with it, Num. xxvii. 20, 
1 Chron. xxix. 25, Dan. xi. 21, cf. Ps. xxi. 6; and this is 
just, the thought one looks for, viz., that the name of the 
God, who has put His glory upon the heavens (cxlviii. 13) 
is also glorious here below. We must, therefore, take rUP, 
although it is always the form of the imper. elsewhere, as 
infin., just as riT) occurs once in Gen. xlvi. 3 as infin. (like 
the Arab, rida a giving to drink, It da a bringing forth — 
forms to which n~^> and the like in Hebrew certainly more 
exactly correspond). Tp^n "JH signifies the setting of Thy 
glory (prop. t4 tiOevai tt)»- 86$av oou) just like THIN H]n the 
the knowledge of Jahve, and Obad. ver. 5, ?||p 0>fc>, probably 
the setting of thy nest, Ges. § 133. 1. It may be interpreted: 
Thou whose laying of Thy glory is upon the heavens, i*. e. 
Thou who hast chosen this as the place on which Thou hast 
laid Thy glory (Hengst.). In accordance with this Jerome 
translates it : qui posuisti gloriam tuam super ccelos. Thus 
also the Syriac version with the Targum: tTjabt (nariH) 
shttbhoch 'al sh'majo, and Symmachus : 8« Ixafoc tiv Sitatviv 
oou uuepava) twv oupavdiv. This use of the nomen verbale and 
the genitival relation of "itt'N to ?|"]in !"0A, which is taken 
as one notion, is still remarkable. Hitzig considers that 
no reasonable man would think and write thus ; but thereby 
at the same time utterly condemns his own conjecture )n 
spinn (whose extending of glory over the heavens). This, 
moreover, goes beyond the limits of the language, which is 

Digitized by 


PSALM VIII. 2—3. 151 

only acquainted with jp as the name of an animal. All diffi- 
culty would vanish if one might, with Hupfeld, read pitTD. 
But run has not the slightest appearance of being a cor- 
ruption of nnrtf. It might be more readily supposed that 
ron is an erroneous pointing for POP. (to stretch or extend, 
cf. Hos. viii. 10 to stretch forth, distribute): Thou whose 
glory stretches over the heavens, — an interpretation which 
is more probable than that it is, with Paulus and Kurtz, 
to be read r)3P : Thou whose glory is praised (pass, of the 
n:Pi in Judges v. 11, xi. 40, which belongs to the dialect of 
Northern Palestine), instead of which one would more readi- 
ly expect D3n\ The verbal notion, which is tacitly implied 
in cxiii.4, cxlviii. 13, would then be expressed here. But per- 
haps the author wrote "pin TUF) instead of "pin PPJ, because 
he wishes to describe the setting out of the heavens with 
divine splendour* as being constantly repeated and not as 
done once for all. 

There now follows, in ver. 3, the confirmation of ver. 
2 a: also all over the earth, despite its distance from the 
heavens above, Jahve's name is glorious; for even children, 
yea even sucklings glorify him there, and in fact not mutely 
and passively by their mere existence, but with their mouth. 
bb\y (— . bbtyti) or bhty is a child that is more mature and ca- 
pable of spontaneous action, from bbty (Poel otbby ludere),** 
according to 1 Sam. xxii. 19, xv. 3, distinct from pjp, i. e. 
a suckling, not, however, infans, but, — since the Hebrew 

* In the first Sidonian inscription "VI N occurs as a by-name of the 
heavens (D"VIN DDtf). 

•* According to this derivation Vl'V (cf. Beduin 71WV, % altil a young 
ox) is related to bv^F', whereas ?W as a synonym of piV signifies one 
who is supported, sustained. For the radical signification of ?W accord- 
ing to the Arabic JLc /"«'• o. is "to weigh heavy, to be heavy, to lie have anythingincumbentupon one'sself, to carry, support, preserve", 
whence *qffil the maintained child of the house, and ' qjjila (Damascene 
'ela) he who is dependent upon one for support and the family depend- 
ing upon the paterfamilias for sustenance. Neither JLc fut. o., nor 
JLc fut. i. usually applied to a pregnant woman who still suckles, has 
the direct signification to suckle. Moreover, the demon Ghul does not 
receive its name from swallowing up or sucking ont (Ges.), but from 
destroying (JLc fin. ".) 

Digitized by 

Google ^ 

152 PSALM VIII. 4-6. 

women were accustomed to suckle their children for a long 
period, — a little child which is able to lisp and speak (vid. 
2 Mace. vii. 27). Out of the mouth of beings such as these 
Jahve has founded for Himself ft. The LXX. translates it 
the utterance of praise, alvov; and \y certainly sometimes has 
the meaning of power ascribed to God in praise, and so a lau- 
datory acknowledgment of His might; but this is only when 
connected with verbs of giving, xxix. 1, lxviii. 35, xcvi. 7. 
In itself, when standing alone, it cannot mean this. It is in 
this passage : might, or victorious power, which God creates 
for Himself out of the mouths of children that confess Him. 
This offensive and defensive power, as Luther has observed 
on this passage, is conceived of as a strong building, iy as 
flJJD (Jer. xvi. 19) i. e. a fortress, refuge, bulwark, fortifica- 
tion, for the foundation of which He has taken the mouth, 
i. e. the stammering of children; and this He has done because 
of His enemies, to restrain (EVSB'n to cause any one to sit 
or lie down, rest, to put him to silence, e. g. Isa. xvi. 10, 
Ezek. vii. 24) such as are enraged against Him and His, and 
are inspired with a thirst for vengeance which expresses 
itself in curses (the same combination is found in xliv. 17). 
Those meant, are the fierce and calumniating opponents of 
revelation. Jahve has placed the mouth of children in oppo- 
sition to these, as a strong defensive controversive power. 
He has chosen that which is foolish and weak in the eyes 
of the world to put to shame the wise and that which is 
strong (1 Cor. i. 27). It is by obscure and naturally feeble 
instruments that He makes His name glorious here below, 
and overcomes whatsoever is opposed to this glorifying. 

Vers. 4 — 6. Stier wrongly translates : For I shall behold. 
The principal thought towards which the rest tends is ver. 5 
(parallel are vers. 2 a, 3), and consequently ver. 4 is the protasis 
(par., ver. 2b), and o accordingly is — quum, quando, in the 
sense of quoties. As often as he gazes at the heavens which 
bear upon themselves the name of God in characters of light 
(wherefore he says spOBf), * ne heavens with their boundless 
spaces (an idea which lies in the plur. Ducts') extending 
beyond the reach of mortal eye, the moon (rnj, dialectic 
mi, perhaps, as Maurer derives it, from n"V = py subflavum 

Digitized by 


PSALM VIII. 1-6. 153 

esse), and beyond this the innumerable stars which are lost 
in infinite space (Q>2213= Q , 33?3 prop, round, ball-shaped, 
spherical bodies) to which Jahve appointed their fixed place 
on the vault of heaven which He has formed with all the 
skill of His creative wisdom (pis to place and set up, in the 
sense of existence and duration) : so often does the thought 
"what is mortal man ....?" increase in power and intensity. 
The most natural thought would be : frail, puny man is as 
nothing before all this; but this thought is passed over 
in order to celebrate, with grateful emotion and astonished 
adoration, the divine love which appears in all the more 
glorious light, — a love which condescends to poor man, 
the dust of earth. Even if B'lJN does not come from u/M 
to be fragile, nevertheless, according to the usage of the 
language, it describes man from the side of his impotence, 
frailty, and mortality (yid. ciii. 15, Isa. li. 12, and on Gen. 
iv. 26). D"1N"]3, also, is not without a similar collateral 
reference. With retrospective reference to C'j33*l O^ty, D"18T)3 
is equivalent to i"l2JN~"i1^ in Job xiv. 1 : man, who is not, 
like the stars, God's directly creative work, but comes into 
being through human agency, born of woman. From both 
designations it follows that it is the existing generation of 
man that is spoken of. Man, as we see him in ourselves and 
others, this weak and dependent being is, nevertheless, not 
forgotten by God, God remembers him and looks about 
after him (npB of observing attentively, especially visitation, 
and with the accus. it is generally used of lovingly provident 
visitation, e. g. Jer. xv. 15). He does not leave him to him- 
self, but enters into personal intercourse with him, he is 
the special and favoured object whither His eye turns (cf. 
cxliv. 3, and the parody of the tempted one in Job vii. 
17 sq.) 

It is not until ver. 6 that the writer glances back at crea- 
tion. W1QHP)1 (differing from the fut. consec. Job vii. 18) 
describes that which happened formerly. jp ~iDn signifies 
to cause to be short of, wanting in something, to deprive 
any one of something (cf. Eccl. iv. 8). jo is here neither 
comparative (paullo inferiorem eum fecisti Deo), nor negative 
(paullum derogasti ei, ne esset Deus), but partitive (paullum 

Digitized by 


161 PSALM VIII. 4- 6. 

derogasti ei divince natura); and, without O'm'tn being on that 
account an abstract plural, paullum Deoruth, — Dei (vid. 
Genesis S. 66 sq.), is equivalent to paullum numinis Deorum. 
According to Gen. i. 27 man is created Q'H'tn obxz, he is a 
being in the image of God, and, therefore, nearly a divine 
being. But when God says : "let us make man in our image 
after our likeness", He there connects Himself with the 
angels. The translation of the LXX. ^Xorceoaa; autiv ppa/u 
n nap' if feXooi, with which the Targum and the prevailing 
Jewish interpretations also harmonize, is, therefore, not 
unwarranted. Because in the biblical mode of conception 
the angels are so closely connected with God as the nearest 
creaturely effulgence of His nature, it is really possible that in 
a'rfrxo David may have thought of God including the angels. 
Since man is in the image of God, he is at the same time 
in the likeness of an angel, and since he is only a little less 
than divine, he is also only a little less than angelic. The 
position, somewhat exalted above the angels, which he oc- 
cupies by being the bond between all created things, in so 
far as mind and matter are united in him, is here left 
out of consideration. The writer has only this one thing in 
his mind, that man is inferior to God, who is nil, and to 
the angels who are ffirTl") (Isa. xxxi. 3, Heb. i. 14) in this 
respect, that he is a material being, and on this very ac- 
count a finite and mortal being; as Theodoret well and 
briefly observes : T<j> 8vT)t<p twv &"flik<i>v jjXdrccDtat. This is the 
BJ/D in which whatever is wanting to him to make him a 
divine being is concentrated. But it is nothing more than 
i2)j». The assertion in ver. 6 a refers to the fact of the na- 
ture of man being in the image of God, and especially to 
the spirit breathed into him from God; ver. 66, to his god- 
like position as ruler in accordance with this his participa- 
tion in the divine nature : honore ac decore coronasti turn. 
"133 is the manifestation of glory described from the side 
of its weightiness and fulness; HD (cf. *in, "IT-H) from the 
side of its far resounding announcement of itself (vid. on 
Job xxxix. 20); TVI from the side of its brilliancy, majesty, 
and beauty, inni tin, xcvi. 6, or also 71 "lin TD3 Tin, cxlv. 
5, is the appellation of the divine doxa, with the image of 

Digitized by 


PSALM VHI. 7—9. 155 

which man is adorned as with a regal crown. The preceding 
fut. consec. also stamps irnSjJn and in!?'Bfcn as historical 
retrospects. The next strophe unfolds the regal glory of 
man: he is the lord of all things, the lord of all earthly 

Vers. 7 — 9. Man is a king, and not a king without 
territory; the world around, with the works of creative wis- 
dom which fill it, is his kingdom. The words "put under 
his feet" sound like a paraphrase of the HIT in Gen. i. 26, 
28. hi is unlimited, as in Job xiii. 1, zlii. 2, Isa. xliv. 24. 
But the expansion of the expression in vers. 8, 9 extends 
only to the earth, and is limited even there to the different 
classes of creatures in the regions of land, air, and water. 
The poet is enthusiastic in his surrey of this province of 
man's dominion. And his lofty poetic language corresponds to 
this enthusiasm. The enumeration begins with the domestic 
animals and passes on from these to the wild beasts — to- 
gether the creatures that dwell on terra ftrma. ro'S (njs 

Num. xxxii. 24) from rOS (NJS) {g i^i (L-a), as also ^L* 
fut. o., proliferum esse is, in poetry, equivalent to jtfx, which 
is otherwise the usual name for small cattle. Q'E^x (in 
Aramaic, as the name of the letter shews, a prose word) is 
in Hebrew poetically equivalent to 1j32; the oxen which 
willingly accommodate themselves to the service of man, 
especially of the husbandman, are so called from r£« to 
yield to. Wild animals, which in prose are called flan JVH, 
(DTfen) here bear the poetical name ^jy fllon?, as in Joel ii. 
22, cf. i. 20, 1 Sam. xvii. 44. hip (in pause Hit') is the primitive 
form of i*nfr, which is not declined, and has thereby obtained 
a collective signification. From the land animals the descrip- 
tion passes on to the fowls of the air and the fishes of the 
water. -)1SS is the softer word, instead of rpy; and o?0# is 
used without the art. according to poetical usage, whereas 
DJH without the art. would have sounded too scanty and 
not sufficiently measured. In connection with 0'a> the ar- 
ticle may be again omitted, just as with wp\tf. "12J7 is a col- 
lective participle. If the following were intended : he (or : 
since he), viz. van, passes through the paths of the sea 

Digitized by 


156 PSALM VIII. 10. 

(Bottcher, Cassel, and even Aben-Ezra and Kimchi), then 
it would not have been expressed in such a monostich, and 
in a form so liable to lead one astray. The words may be 
a comprehensive designation of that portion of the animal 
kingdom which is found in the sea; and this also intended 
to include all from the smallest worm to the gigantic levia- 
than: 6int6oa irovtoiripoo? itapeirtoTei|3oooi xeXsuOoo? (Apollin* 
aris). If man thus rules over every living thing that is round 
about him from the nearest to the most remote, even that 
which is apparently the most untameable : then it is clear 
that every lifeless created- thing in his vicinity must serve 
him as its king. The poet i^gards man in the light of the 
purpose for which he was created. 

Ver. 10. He has now demonstrated what he expressed 
in ver. 2, that the name of JabvXfi whose glory is reflected 
by the heavens, is also glorious ion earth. Thus, then, he 
can as a conclusion repeat the thought with which he began, 
in a wider and more comprehensive^ meaning, and weave 
his Psalm together, as it were, into a\wreath. 

It is just this Psalm, of which one\rould have least 
expected it, that is frequently quoted in theNNew Testament 
and applied to the Messiah. Indeed Jesus' designation of 
Himself by 6 oio? too &v9p<oitou, however far it may refer 
back to the Old Testament Scriptures, leans no\ less upon 
this Psalm than upon Dan. vii. 13. The use the ' wr it er °^ 
the Epistle to the Hebrews (ch. ii. 6 — 8) makes "*of ,erSl 
5 — 7 of this Psalm shews us how the New Testarfe nt a P" 
plication to the Messiah is effected. The psalmist ""ega^ 8 
man as one who glorifies God and as a prince created o*.^ 0< ^ 
The deformation of this position by sin he leaves unhe^ e ^ 
But both sides of the mode of regarding it are warred. 
On the one hand, we see that which man has becon*^ 
creation still in operation even in his present state; o* ^ e 
other hand, we see it distorted and stunted. If we com^ rt 
what the Psalm says with this shady side of the reaM 
from which side it is incongruous with the end of ml"' 1 
creation, then the song which treats of the man of the p* 6 * 
sent becomes a prcphecy of the man of the future. lh« 

Digitized by 



Psalm undergoes this metamorphosis in the New Testament 
consciousness, which looks more to the loss than to that 
which remains of the original. In fact, the centre of the New 
Testament consciousness is Jesus the Restorer of that which 
is lost. The dominion of the world lost to fallen man, and 
only retained by him in a ruined condition, is allotted to 
mankind, when redeemed by Him, in fuller and more perfect 
reality. This dominion is not yet in the actual possession 
of mankind, but in the person of Jesus it now sits enthroned 
at the right hand of God. In Him the idea of humanity is 
transcendently realised, t. e. according to a very much 
higher standard than that laid down when the world was 
founded. He has entered into the state — only a little 
(Ppax«S ti) beneath the angels — of created humanity for a 
little while (ftyax" Tt )> m order to raise redeemed humanity 
above the angels. Everything (hi) is really put under Him 
with just as little limitation as is expressed in this Psalm : 
not merely the animal kindom, not merely the world itself, 
but the universe with all the ruling powers in it, whether 
they be in subjection or in hostility to God, yea even the 
power of death (1 Cor. xv. 27, cf. Ephes. i. 22). Moreover, 
by redemption, more than heretofore, the confession which 
comes from the mouth of little children is become a bulwark 
founded of God, in order that against it the resistance of 
the opponents of revelation may be broken. We have an 
example of this in Mat. xxi. 16, where our Lord points the 
pharisees and scribes, who are enraged at the Hosanna of 
the children, to Ps. viii. 3. Redemption demands of man, 
before everything else, that he should become as a little 
child, and reveals its mysteries to infants, which are hidden 
from the wise and intelligent. Thus, therefore, it is jxixpol 
xal vjjitioi, whose tongue is loosed by the Spirit of God, who 
are to put to shame the unbelieving; and all that this Psalm 
says of the man of the present becomes in the light of the 
New Testament in its relation to the history of redemption, 
& prophecy of the Son of man x<xx" l$oj^v, and of the new 

Digitized by 


158 PSALM IX. 



2 K I WILL give thanks to Jahve with my whole heart, 
N I will recount all Thy marvellous works — 

3 n I will be glad and rejoice in Thee, 

K I will sing praise to Thy name, Most High! 

4 3 When mine enemies turned back, 

When they fell and perished before Thine angry face. 

5 For Thou hast maintained my right and my cause, 
Thou hast sat down on the throne, a righteous Judge. 

6 J Thou didst rebuke peoples, Thou didst destroy the 

Their name didst Thou blot out for ever and ever. 

7 fi The enemy are perished, perpetual ruins; 

And cities hast Thou rooted out, effaced is their very 

8 i But Jahve sits enthroned for ever, 

He hath set His throne for judgment. 

9 And He shall judge the earth in righteousness, 

He shall minister judgment to the nations in up- 

10 1 So will Jahve be a stronghold to the oppressed, 

A stronghold in times of trouble; 

11 Thus shall they trust in Thee who know Thy name, 
Because Thou hast not forsaken them who ask after 

Thee, Jahve! 

12 T Sing praises to Jahve, who dwelleth in Zion, 

Declare among the peoples His deeds; 

13 That the Avenger of blood hath remembered them. 
He hath not forgotten the cry of the sufferer. 

14 n "Have mercy upon me, Jahve; behold mine affliction 

from them that hate me, 
"My lifter-up from the gates of death, 

Digitized by 


PSALM IX. 159 

15 "That I may tell all Thy praise, 

"That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may re- 
joice in Thy salvation!" 

16 B The peoples have sunk down in the pit they have 

In the net, that they hid, were their own feet taken. 

17 Jahve hath made Himself known : He hath executed 

Snaring the wicked in the work of his own hands. 

(Stringed Instruments, Sela.) 

18 i Yea back to Hades must the wicked return, 

All the heathen, that forget God. 

19 For the poor shall not always be forgotten, 

The hope of the afflicted is (not) perished for ever. 

20 p Arise, Jahve, let not mortal man be defiant, 

Let the heathen be judged in Thy sight I 

21 Put them in fear, Jahve, 

Let the heathen know they are mortals 1 (Sela). 

Just as Ps. vii. is placed after Ps. vi. as exemplifying 
it, so Ps. ix. follows Ps. viii. as an illustration of the glori- 
fying of the divine name on earth. And what a beautiful 
idea it is that Ps. viii., the Psalm which celebrates Jahve's 
name as being glorious in the earth, is introduced between 
a Psalm that closes with the words "I will sing of the name 
of Jahve, the Most High* (vii. 18) and one which begins: "I 
will sing of Thy name,, Most High!" (ix. 3). 

The LXX. translates the inscription pb tViarhy by 6ic4p 
t«5v xpocpicov too olou (Vulg. pro occultis /l/it) as though it were 
rflO^H>J7. Luther's rendering is still bolder: of beautiful 
(perhaps properly: lily-white) youth. Both renderings are 
opposed to the text, in which by occurs only once. The 
Targum understands p of the duellist Goliath (— 0^21} B*i*)> 
and some of the Rabbis regard pb even as a transposition 
of bm on the death of Nabal. Hengstenberg has revived 
this view, regarding b2i as a collective designation of all 
Nabal-like fools. All these and other curious conceits arise 
from the erroneous idea that these words are an inscription 

Digitized by 


160 PSALM IX. 

referring to the contents of the Psalm. But, on the contrary, 
they indicate the tune or melody, and that by means of the 
familiar words of the song, — perhaps some popular song, — 
with which this air had become most intimately associated. 
At the end of Ps. xlviii. this indication of the air is simply 
expressed by Piw^y. The view of the Jewish expositors, who 
refer pb to the musician |2 mentioned in 1 Chron. xv. 18, 
has, therefore, some probability in its favour. But this name 
excites critical suspicion. Why may not a well-known song 
have begun |2^ rfiD "dying (is) to the son" . . ., or (if one is 
inclined to depart from the pointing, although there is 
nothing to render this suspicious) fib pio "Death makes 
white" ? 

Even Hitzig does not allow himself to be misled as to 
the ancient Davidic origin of Ps. ix. and x. by the fact of 
their having an alphabetical arrangement. These two Psalms 
have the honour of being ranked among the thirteen Psalms 
which are acknowledged by him to be genuine Davidic Psalms. 
Thus, therefore, the alphabetical arrangement found in 
other Psalms cannot, in itself, bring us down to "the times 
of poetic trifling and degenerated taste." Nor can the free- 
dom, with which the alphabetical arrangement is handled 
in Ps. ix. and x. be regarded as an indication of an 
earlier antiquity than these times. For the Old Testament 
poets, even in other instances, do not allow themselves to 
be fettered by forms of this character {vid. on Ps. cxlv., 
cf. on xlii. 2) ; and the fact, that in Ps. ix. x. the alphabetical 
arrangement is not fully carried out, is accounted for other- 
wise than by the license in which David, in distinction from 
later poets, indulged. In reality this pair of Psalms shews, 
that even David was given to acrostic composition. And 
why should he not be? Even among the Romans, Ennius 
(Cicero, De Divin. ii. 54 § 111), who belongs not to the 
leaden, but to the iron age, out of which the golden age first 
developed itself, composed in acrostics. And our oldest 
Germanic epics are clothed in the garb of alliteration, 
which Vilmar calls the most characteristic and most elevated 
Btyle that the poetic spirit of our nation has created. More* 
over, the alphabetical form is adapted to the common people, 

Digitized by 


PSALM IX. 161 

89 is evident from Augustine's Retract, i. 20. It is not a 
paltry substitute for the departed poetic spirit, not merely 
an accessory to please the eye, an outward embellishment 
— it is in itself indicative of mental power. The didactic 
poet regards the array of the linguistic elements as the steps 
by which he leads his pupils up into the sanctuary of wisdom, 
or as the many-celled casket in which he stores the pearls 
of the teachings of his wisdom. The lyric writer regards it 
as the keys on which he strikes every note, in order to give 
the fullest expression to his feelings. Even the prophet does 
not disdain to allow the order of the letters to exert an in- 
fluence over the course of his thoughts, as we see from 
Nah. i. 3 — 7.* Therefore, when among the nine** alphabet- 
ical Psalms (ix. x. xxv. xxxiv. xxxvii. cxi. cxii. cxix. cxlv.) 
four bear the inscription "vrb (ix. xxv. xxxiv. cxlv.), we shall 
not at once regard them as non-Davidic just because they 
indicate an alphabetical plan which is more or less fully 
carried out. 

This is not the place to speak of the relation of the 
anonymous Ps. x. to Ps. ix., since Ps. ix. is not in any way 
wanting in internal roundness and finish. It is thoroughly 
hymnic. The idea that ver. 14 passes from thanksgiving 
into supplication rests on a misinterpretation, as we shall 
presently see. This Psalm is a thoroughly national song of 
thanksgiving for victory by David, belonging to the time 
when Jahve was already enthroned on Zion, and therefore, 
to the time after the ark was brought home. Was it com- 
posed after the triumphant termination of the Syro-Ammo- 
nitish war? — The judgment of extermination already 
executed, ix. 8 sq., harmonises with what is recorded in 2 
Sam. xii. 31 ; and the o^J, who are actually living within 
the borders of Israel, appear to be Philistines according to 
the annalistic passage about the Philistine feuds, 2 Sam. xxi. 
15 sqq., cf. viii. 1 in connection with 1 Sam. xiii. 6. 

• This observation is due to Pastor Frohnmeyer of WOrtemberg. 
** The Psallerium Brtmonit (ed. by Cochlcus, 1533) overlooks Ps. ix 
L, reckoning only seven alphabetical Psalms. 

vol.1. " 11 

Digitized by 


1C2 PSALM IX. 2—5. 

Vers. 2 — 3. In this first strophe of the Psalm, which 
is laid out in tetrastichs, — the normative strophe, — the 
alphabetical form is carried out in the fullest possible way: 
we have four lines, each of which begins with n. It is the 
prelude of the song. The poet rouses himself up to a joyful 
utterance of Jahve's praise. With his whole heart (cxxxviii. 
1), i. e. all his powers of mind and soul as centred in his 
heart taking part in the act, will he thankfully andintelli- 
gently confess God, and declare His wondrous acts which 
exceed human desire and comprehension (xxvi. 7); he will 
rejoice and be glad in Jahve, as the ground of his rejoicing 
and as the sphere of his joy; and with voice and with harp 
he will sing of the name of the Most High. jvbjJ is not an 
attributive of the name of God (Hitz.: Thine exalted name), 
but, as it is everywhere from Gen. xiv. 18 — 22 onward (e. g. 
xcvii. 9), an attributive name of God. As an attributive to 
sjDB' one would expect to find jV^H- 

Vers. 4 — 5. The call upon himself to thanksgiving 
sounds forth, and the 3-strophe continues it by expressing the 
ground of it. The preposition 3 in this instance expresses 
both the time and the reason together (as in lxxvi. 10, 2 
Chron. xxviii. 6); in Latin it is recedentibus hosttbus meis 
retro. "lin« serves to strengthen the notion of being driven 
back, as in lvi. 10, cf. xliv. 11; and just as, in Latin, verbs 
compounded of re are strengthened by retro. In ver. 4b 
finite verbs take the place of the infinitive construct; here 
we have futt. with a present signification, just as in 2 Chron. 
xvi. 7 we find a prat, intended as perfect. For the rendering 
which Hitzig adopts: When mine enemies retreat backwards, 
they stumble ... is opposed both by the absence of any 
syntactic indication in ver. 4& of an apodosis (cf. xxvii. 2); 
and also by the fact that ibtt'^ is well adapted to be a continua- 
tion of the description of "linK ytW (cf. John xviii. 6), but 
is tame as a principal clause to the definitive clause 3TOQ 
"WIN 'S'IN. Moreover, *flnN does not signify backwards (which 
would rather be {V3"inN [Gen. ix. 23, 1 Sam. iv. 18]), but 
back, or into the rear. The jo of *p3DO is the }0 of the cause, 
whence the action proceeds. What is intended is God's angry 
countenance, the look of which sets his enemies on fire as 

Digitized by 


PSALM IX. 4—5. 163 

if they were fuel (xxi. 10), in antithesis to God's counten- 
ance as beaming with the light of His love. Now, while 
this is taking place, and because of its taking place, will he 
sing praise to God. From ver. 2 we see that the Psalm is 
composed directly after the victory and while the destruc- 
tive consequences of it to the vanquished are still in opera- 
tion. David sees in it all an act of Jahve's judicial power. 
To execute any one's right, tSBfifi? (Mic. vii. 9), to bring to 
an issue any one's suit or lawful demand, jH (cxl. 13), is 
equivalent to : to assist him and his good cause in securing 
their right. The phrases are also used in a judicial sense 
without the suffix. The genitive object after these principal 
words never denotes the person against whom, but the per- 
son on whose behalf, the third party steps forward with his 
judicial authority. Jahve has seated Himself upon His judg- 
ment-seat as a judge of righteousness (as in Jer. xi. 20), 
i. e. as a judge whose judicial mode of procedure is righteous- 
ness, justice,* and has decided in bis favour. In b 2B^ (as 
in exxxii. 11), which is distinguished in this respect from 21P 
^j; (xlvii. 9), the idea of motion, consider e, comes prominently 

Vers. 6 — 7. The strophe with 3, which is perhaps in- 
tended to represent T and n as well, continues the confirma- 
tion of the cause for thanksgiving laid down in ver. 4. He 
does not celebrate the judicial act of God on his behalf, 
which, he has just experienced, alone, but in connection with, 
and, its it were, as the sum of many others which have pre- 
ceded it. If this is the case, then in ver. 6 beside the Am- 
monites one may at the same time (with Hengstenb.) think 
of the Amalekites (1 Sam. viii. 12), who had been threatened 
since the time of Moses with a "blotting out of their re- 
membrance" (Ex. xvii. 14, Deut. xxv. 19, cf. Num. xxiv. 20). 
The divine threatening is the word of omnipotence which 
detroys in distinction from the word of omnipotence that 

• Also Prov. viii. 16 is probably to be read p"15j 'D -j'trte, with Norsi, 
according to the Targnm, Sjriac version, and old Codices; at any rate 
this is an old various reading, and one in accordance with the sense, 
«ide by side with fHN w:4>:>. 


Digitized by 


164 PSALM IX. 6—7. 

creates. ptB?") in close connection with oyi is individualising, 
cf. vcr. 18 with vers. 16, 17. njn is a sharpened pausal form 
for *HJ1, the Pathach going into a Segol (|Bp PinD); perhaps 
it is in order to avoid the threefold a -sound in ijn o^ijfr 
(Nagelsbach § 8 extr.). In ver. 7 a^Nn (with -4*/a legarme) 
appears to he a vocative. In that case f)t!/nj ought also to 
be addressed to the enemy. But if it he interpreted: "Thou 
hast destroyed thine own cities, their memorial is perished", 
destroyed, viz. at the challenge of Israel, then the thought is 
forced; and if we render it: "the cities, which thou hast des- 
troyed, perished is the remembrance of them", i. e. one no lon- 
ger thinks of thine acts of conquest, then we have a thought 
that is in itself awkward and one that finds no support in 
any of the numerous parallels which speak of a blotting out 
and leaving no trace behind. But, moreover, in both these 
interpretations the fact that W\2\ is strengthened by nan 
is lost sight of, and the twofold masculine DBD 0"DT is re- 
ferred to ony (which is carelessly done by most expositors), 
whereas TJ7, with but few exceptions, is feminine; consequently 
non 0121, so far as this is not absolutely impossible, must 
be referred to the enemies themselves (cf. xxxiv. 17, cix. 15). 
3i1Nn might more readily be nom. absol. : "the enemy — it is 
at end for ever with his destructions", but D3*!PI never has 
an active but always only a neuter signification; or: "the 
enemy — ruins are finished for ever", but the signification 
to be destroyed is more natural for cpn than to be completed, 
when it is used of ruitue. Moreover, in connection with both 
these renderings the retrospective pronoun (vffi2"Tl) is want- 
ing, and this is also the case with the reading rTQ"1Pl (LXX., 
Vulg., Syr.), which leaves it uncertain whose swords are 
meant. But why may we not rather connect a^xn at once 
with ibfi as subject? In other instances ten is also joined 
to a singular collective subject, e. g. Isa. xvi. 4; here it pre- 
cedes, like T\\C\ in Judg. xx. 37. nsA nQIPI is a nominative 
of the product, corresponding to the factitive object with 
verbs of making: the enemies are destroyed as ruins for 
ever, i. e. so that they are become ruins; or, more in accord- 
ance with the accentuation: the enemy, destroyed as ruins 
are they for ever. With respect to what follows the accen- 

Digitized by 


PSALM IX. 8—0. 165 

tuation also contains hints worthy of our attention. It does 
not take fiB'TIJ (with the regular Pathaeh by Athnach after 
Olemejored, vid. on ii. 7) as a relative clause, and consequently 
does not require non Q"C1 to be referred back to any. 

We interpret the passage thus : and cities (viz. such as 
were hostile) thou hast destroyed (ts*ru evellere, exstirpare), 
perished is their (the enemies') memorial. Thus it also now 
becomes intelligible, why Q"p\, according to the rule Ges. 
§ 121, 3, is so remarkably strengthened by the addition of 
nan (cf. Num. xiv. 32, 1 Sam. xx. 42, Prov. xxii. 19, xxiii. 
15, Ezek. xxxiv. 11). Hupfeld, whose interpretation is exactly 
the same as ours, thinks it might perhaps be the enemies 
themselves and the cities set over against one another. But 
the contrast follows in ver. 8: their, even their memorial is 
perished, while on the contrary Jahve endures for ever and 
is enthroned as judge. This contrast also retrospectively 
gives support to the explanation, that Q*OT refers not to the 
cities, but to s^MD as a collective. With this interpretation 
of ver. 7 we have no occasion to read nanc D"12t (Targ.), 
nor nana "Dl (Paul., Hitz.). The latter is strongly com- 
mended by Job xi. 20, cf. Jer. x. 2; but still it is not quite 
admissible, since 12T here is not subjective (their own re- 
membrance) but objective (remembrance of them). But may 
not or)% perhaps here, as in cxxxix. 20, mean zealots — ad- 
versaries (from Tj? fervere, zelare) ? We reply in the nega- 
tive, because the Psalm bears neither an Aramaising nor a 
North Palestinian impress. Even in connection with this 
meaning, the harshness of the any without any suffix would 
still remain. But, that the cities that are, as it were, plucked up 
by the root are cities of the enemy, is evident from the context. 

Vers. 8 — 9. Without a trace even of the remembrance of 
them the enemies are destroyed, while on the other hand 
Jahve endureth for ever. This strophe is the continuation 
of the preceding with the most intimate connnection of con- 
trast (just as the 3-strophe expresses the ground for what 
is said in the preceding strophe). The verb "2th has not the 
general signification "to remain" here (like ipj; to endure), 
but just the same meaning as in xxix. 10. Everything that 
is opposed to Him comes to a terrible end, whereas He sits, 

Digitized by 


166 PSALM IX. 10—11. 

or (which the fut. implies) abides, enthroned for ever, and 
that as Judge : He hath prepared His throne for the purpose 
of judgment. This same God, who has just given proof that 
He lives and reigns, will by and bye judge the nations still 
more comprehensively, strictly, and impartially. "?3n, a 
word exclusively poetic and always without the article, 
signifies first (in distinction from y~\x the body of the earth 
and no^K the covering or soil of the earth) the fertile (from 
*>2j) Burface of the globe, the olxoopivv). It is the last Judg- 
ment, of which all preceding judgments are harbingers and 
pledges, that is intended. In later Psalms this Davidic utter* 
ance concerning the future is repeated. 

Vers. 10 — 11. Thus judging the nations Jahve shews 
Himself to be, as a second i-strophe says, the refuge and 
help of His own. The voluntative with Warn of sequence 
expresses that which the poet desires for his own sake and 
for the sake of the result mentioned in ver. 11. 3.&p, a high, 
steep place, where one is removed from danger, is a figure 
familiar to David from the experiences of his time of per- 
secution, "j-j (in pause ^j) is properly one who is crushed 
(from "pi = to~t, rDT to crush, break in pieces, pj3"t to pul- 
verize), therefore one who is overwhelmed to the extreme, 
even to being completely crushed. The parallel is n*)33 fflnj& 
with the datival b (as probably also in x. 1). nmj? from ny 
(time, and then both continuance, lxxxi. 16, and condition) 
signifies the public relations of the time, or even the vicis- 
situdes of private life, xxxi. 16; and rn33 is not iTTSn with 
3 (Bottch.), which gives an expression that is meaninglessly 
minute ("for times in the need"), but one word, formed from 
"133 (to cut off, Arab, to see, prop, to discern keenly), just 
like rw'j53 from tfj?2, prop, a cutting off, or being cut off, 
i. e. either restraint, especially motionlessness (— rr&2, Jer. 
xvii. 8, plur. ffl")22 Jer. xiv. 1), or distress, in which the 
prospect of deliverance is cut off. Since God is a final refuge 
for such circumstances of hopelessness in life, i. e. for those 
who are in such circumstances, the confidence of His people 
is strengthened, refreshed, and quickened. They who know 
His name, to them He has now revealed its character fully, 
and that by His acts; and they who inquire after Him, of 

Digitized by 


PSALM IX. 12—13. 167 

trouble and concern themselves about Him (this is what 
&y] signifies in distinction from tfj93), have now experienced 
that He also does not forget them, but makes Himself known 
to them in the fulness of His power and mercy. 

Vers. 12 — 13. Thus then the T- strophe summons to the 
praise of this God who has done, and will still do, such things. 
The summons contains a moral claim, and therefore applies 
to all, and to each one individually. Jahve, who is to be 
praised everywhere and by every one, is called ;1»S 3t^\ which 
does not mean : He who sits enthroned in Zion, but He who 
inhabiteth Zion, Ges. § 138, 1. Such is the name by which 
He is called since the time when His earthly throne, the ark, 
was fixed on the castle hill of Jerusalem, lxxvi. 3. It is the 
epithet applied to Him during the period of the typical 
kingship of promise. That Jahve's salvation shall be pro- 
claimed from Zion to all the world, even outside Israel, for 
their salvation, is, as we see here and elsewhere, an idea 
which throbs with life even in the Davidic Psalms; later 
prophecy beholds its realisation in its wider connections with 
the history of the future. That which shall be proclaimed to 
the nations is called vrrtSby, a designation which the magnolia 
Dei have obtained in the Psalms and the prophets since the 
time of Hannah's song, 1 Sam. ii. 3 (from hh)!, root hv, to 
come over or upon anything, to influence a person or a thing, 
as it were, from above, to subject them to one's energy, to 
act upon them). 

With '3, quod, in ver. 13, the subject of the proclamation 
of salvation is unfolded as to its substance. The prcett. state 
that which is really past; for that which God has done is the 
assumption that forms the basis of the discourse in praise 
of God on account of His mighty acts. They consist in 
avenging and rescuing His persecuted church, — persecut3d 
even to martyrdom. The oniK, standing by way of emphasis 
before its verb, refers to those who are mentioned afterwards 
(cf. ver. 21) : the Chethib calls them D»Jg, the Keri O'Uj;. 
Both words alternate elsewhere also, the Keri at one time 
placing the latter, at another the former, in the place of the 
one that stands in the text. They are both referable to njy 
to bend (to bring low, Isa. xxv. 5). The neuter signification 

Digitized by 


I (8 PSALM IX. 14—15. 

of the verb n^ * 1$, Lsx fut. o. t underlies the noun iwj; (cf. 
ibtf), for which in Num. xii. 3 there is a Kerx wj? with an 
incorrect Jod (like ybtf Job xxi. 23). This is manifest from 
the substantive nijy, which ioez not signify affliction, but 
passiveness, »'. e. humility and gentleness; and the noun ->ty 
is passive, and therefore does not, like uy, signify one who 
is lowly-minded, in a state of Dry., but one who is bowed 
down by afflictions, og. But because the twin virtues denoted 
by niJyare acquired in the school of affliction, there comes 
to be connected with yj> — but only secondarily — the 
notion of that moral and spiritual condition which is aimed 
at by dispensations of affliction, and is joined with a suffer- 
ing life, rather than with one of worldly happiness and pros* 
perity, — a condition which, as Num. xii. 3 shews, is pro- 
perly described by ujj (xoueiv6« and irpao?). It shall be 
proclaimed beyond Israel, even among the nations, that the 
Avenger of blood, O'Dl VTpi, thinks of them (His ans'-p), and 
has been as earnest in His concern for them as they in theirs 
for Him. cw always signifies human blood that is shed 
by violence and unnaturally ; the plur. is the plural of the 
product discussed by Dietrich, Abhandl. S. 40. B^-j to de- 
mand back from any one that which he has destroyed, and 
therefore to demand a reckoning, indemnification, satisfac- 
tion for it, Gen. ix. 5, then absolutely to punish, 2 Chron. 
xxiv. 22. 

Vers. 14 — 15. To take this strophe as a prayer of David 
at the present time, is to destroy the unity and hymnic 
character of the Psalm , since that which is here put in the 
form of prayer appears in what has preceded and in what 
follows as something he has experienced. The strophe 
represents to us how the D»Jg (CUjD cried to Jahve before 
the deliverance now experienced. Instead of the form \jin 
used everywhere else the resolved, and as it were tremulous, 
form yMTl is designedly chosen. According to a better attested 
reading it is i£)Xl (Pathach with Gaja in the first syllable), 
which is regarded by Chajug and others as the imper. Piel, 
but more correctly (Ewald § 251, c) as the imper. Kal from 
the intransitive imperative form |Jn. '•CO'HD is the vocative, 
cf. xvii. 7. The gates of death, t. e. the gates of the realm 

Digitized by 


PSALH IX 16—17. 1G9 

of the dead (MINIS', Isa. xxxviii. 10), are in the deep; he who 
is in peril of death is said to have sunk down to them; he 
who is snatched from peril of death is lifted up, so that they 
do not swallow him up and close behind him. The church, 
already very near to the gates of death, cried to the God 
who can snatch from death. Its final purpose in connection 
with such deliverance is that it may glorify God. The form 
I'n^nn is sing, with a plural suffix just like ITINJK' Ezek. 
xxxv. 11, UTIQB'K Ezra ix. 15. The punctuists maintained (as 
rjinsj? in Isa. xlvii. 13 shews) the possibility of a plural in- 
flexion of a collective singular. In antithesis to the gates 
of death, which are represented as beneath the ground, we 
have the gates of the daughter of Zion standing on high. 
]VS is gen. oppositions (Ges. § 116, 5). The daughter of Zion 
(Zion itself) is the church in its childlike, bride-like, and 
conjugal relation to Jahve. In the gates of the daughter of 
Zion is equivalent to : before all God's people, cxvi. 14. For 
the gates are the places of public resort and business. At 
this period the Old Testament mind knew nothing of the 
songs of praise of the redeemed in heaven. On the other 
side of the grave is the silence of death. If the church desires 
to praise God, it must continue in life and not die. 

Vers. 16 — 17. And, as this D-strophe says, the church 
is able to praise God; for it is rescued from death, and those 
who desired that death might overtake it, have fallen a prey 
to death themselves. Having interpreted the n- strophe as 
the representation of the earlier o«3}| flj3VH we have no need 
to supply dicendo or dicturus, as Seb. Schmidt does, before 
this strophe, but it continues the prcett. preceding the n- 
strophe, which celebrate that which has just been experienced. 
The verb jdb (root 3D, whence also bsti) signifies originally 
to press upon anything with anything flat, to be pressed 
into, then, as here and in lxix. 3, 15, to sink in. liotO tf 
(pausal form in connection with Mugrash) in the parallel 
member of the verse corresponds to the attributive ityj; (cf. 
b$tl, vii. 16). The union of the epicene it with ntsf"l by 
Makkeph proceeds from the view, that it is demonstrative as 
in xii. 8 : the net there (which they have hidden). The punc- 
tuation, it is true, recognises a relative it, xvii. 9, lxviii. 29, 

Digitized by 


170 PSALM IX. 17. 

but it mostly takes it as demonstrative, inasmuch as it con- 
nects it closely with the preceding noun, either by Makkeph 
(xxxii. 8, lxii. 12, cxlii. 4, cxliii. 8) or by marking the noun 
with a conjunctive accent (x. 2, xxxi. 5, cxxxii. 12). The 
verb *g^> (Arabic to hang on, adhere to, IV. to hold fast to) 
has the signification of seizing and catching in Hebrew. 

In ver. 17 Ben Naphtali points JTTIJ with a : Jahve is 
known {part. Niph.); Ben Asher jrfij, Jahve has made Him- 
self known (3 pers. prat. Niph. in a reflexive signification, as 
in Ezek.xxxviii. 23). The readings of Ben Asher have become 
the textus receptus. That by which Jahve has made Himself 
known is stated immediately : He has executed judgment or 
right, by ensnaring the evil-doer (ytsh, as in ver. 6) in his 
own craftily planned work designed for the destruction of 
Israel. Thus Gussetius has already interpreted it. Cglj is 
part. Kal from tfj?!. If it were part. Niph. from tfjr the c, 
which occurs elsewhere only in a few pj? verbs, as D03 lique- 
faciuSy would be without an example. But it is not to be 
translated, with Ges. and Hengst. : "the wicked is snared in 
the work of his own hands", in which case it would have to 
be pointed tfj?1: (3 preet. Niph.), as in the old versions. Jahve 
is the subject, and the suffix refers to the evil-doer. The 
thought is the same as in Job xxxiv. 11, Isa. i. 31. This 
figure of the net, ntt/"l (from ttfT capere), is peculiar to the 
Psalms that are inscribed ~\rb. The music, and in fact, as 
the combination n^D pan indicates, the playing of the stringed 
instruments (xcii. 4), increases here; or the music is increased 
after a solo of the stringed instruments. The song here soars 
aloft to the climax of triumph. 

Vers. 18 — 19. Just as in vers. 8 sqq. the prospect of a 
final universal judgment was opened up by Jahve's act of 
judgment experienced in the present, so here the grateful 
restrospect of what has just happened passes over into a 
confident contemplation of the future, which is thereby gua- 
ranteed. The LXX. translates Oils' 1 by &izoaxpa.<pi t twoav, Jer. 
convertantur, a meaning which it may have (cf. e. g. 2 Ghron. 
xviii. 25); but why should it not be dvaaTpa^7jT(uoav, or rather: 
dvotoTpacp^joovrai, since ver. 19 shews that ver. 18 is not a wish 
but a prospect of that which is sure to come to pass? To 

Digitized by 


PSALM IX. 20—21. 171 

be resolved into dust again, to sink away into nothing (re- 
dacfio in pulverem, in nihilum) is man's return to his original 
condition, — man who was formed from the dust, who was 
called into being out of nothing. To die is to return to the 
dust, civ. 29, cf. Gen. iii. 19, and here it is called the return 
to Sheol, as in Job xxx. 23 to death, and in xc. 3 to atoms, 
inasmuch as the state of shadowy existence in Hades, the 
condition of worn out life, the state of decay is to a certain 
extent the renewal (Repristination) of that which man was 
before he came into being. As to outward form Tb\nth may 
be compared with nnyts^ in lxxx. 3; the b in both instances 
is that of the direction or aim, and might very well come 
before H^Ntf, because this form of the word may signify both 
h (j&oo and at? <?8oo (cf. r6?20 Jer. xxvii. 16). R. Abba ben 
Zabda, in Genesis Rabba cap. 50, explains the double sign of 
the direction as giving intensity to it : in imum ambitum orci. 
The heathen receive the epithet of O'jfw TOUf (which is more 
neuter than TOtt', 1. 22); for God has not left them without 
a witness of Himself, that they could not know of Him, their 
alienation from God is a forgetfulness of Him, the guilt of 
which they have incurred themselves, and from which they 
are to turn to God (Isa. xix. 22). But because they do not 
do this, and even rise up in hostility against the nation and 
the God of the revelation that unfolds the plan of redemp- 
tion, they will be obliged to return to the earth, and in fact 
to Hades, in order that the persecuted church may obtain 
its longed for peace and its promised dominion. Jahve will 
at last acknowledge this ecclesia pressa; and although its 
hope seems likely to perish, inasmuch as it remains again 
and again unfulfilled, nevertheless it will not always con- 
tinue thus. The strongly accented tib rules both members 
of ver. 19, as in xxxv. 19, xxxviii. 2, and also frequently 
elsewhere (Ewald § 351, a). jVSN, from rOM to wish, is one 
eager to obtain anything = a needy person. The Arabic 

^jf, which means the very opposite, and according to which 
it would mean "one who restrains himself", vis. because ho 
is obliged to, must be left out of consideration. 

Vera. 20 — 21. By reason of the act of judgment already 

Digitized by 


172 PSALM IX. 20—21. 

witnessed the prayer now becomes all the more confident in 
respect of the state of things which is still continually threat- 
ened. From 1 the poet takes a leap to p which, however, 
seems to be a substitute for the 3 which one would expect 
to find, 6ince the following Psalm begins with b. David's 
HO-lp (iii. 8, vii. 7) is taken from the lips of Moses, Num. 
x. 35. "Jahve arises, comes, appears" are kindred expres- 
sions in the Old Testament, all of which point to a final per- 
sonal appearing of God to take part in human history from 
which He has now, as it were, retired into a state of repose 
becoming invisible to human eyes. Hupfeld and others wrongly 
translate "let not man become strong". The verb 7TJ7 does 
not only mean to be or become strong, but also to feel strong, 
powerful, possessed of power, and to act accordingly, there- 
fore : to defy, lii. 9, like TJJ defiant, impudent (post-biblical 
m-iy shamelessness). VflXl, as in 2 Chron. xiv. 10, is man, 
impotent in comparison with God, and frail in himself. The 
enemies of the church of God are not unfrequently designated 
by this name, which indicates the impotence of their pre- 
tended power (Isa. li. 7, 12). David prays that God may 
repress the arrogance of these defiant ones, by arising and 
manifesting Himself in all the greatness of His omnipotence, 
after His forbearance with them so long has seemed to them 
to be the result of impotence. He is to arise as the Judge 
of the world, judging the heathen, while they are compelled 
to appear before Him, and, as it were, defile before Him 
('J?H>}j)» He is to lay rniD on them. If "razor" be the mean- 
ing it is equivocally expressed; and if, according to Isa. vii. 
20, we associate with it the idea of an ignominious rasure, 
or of throat-cutting, it is a figure unworthy of the passage. 
The signification master (LXX., Syr., Yulg., and Luther) 
rests upon the reading miO, which we do not with Thenius 
and others prefer to the traditional reading (even Jerome 
translates: pone, Domine, terror em m); for HTto, which ac- 
cording to the Masora is instead of fcOlD (like n^2D Hab. 
iii. 17 for K^2tp), is perfectly appropriate. Hitzig objects 
that fear is not a thing which one lays upon any one; but 
N110 means not merely fear, but an object, or as Hitzig him- 
self explains it in Mai. ii. 5 a "lever", of fear. It is not meant 

Digitized by 


PSALM X. 173 

that God is to cause them to be overcome with terror (^j?), 
nor that He is to put terror into them (3), bat that He is to 
make them (b in no way differing from xxi. 4, cxl. 6, Job 
xiv. 13) an object of terror, from which to their dismay, as 
the wish is further expressed in ver. 216, they shall come to 
know (Ho8. ix. 7) that they are mortal men. As in x. 12, 
xlix. 12, 1. 21, lxiv. 6, Gen. xii. 13, Job xxxt. 14, Amos v. 
12, Hos. vii. 2, ijjt is followed by an only half indirect 
speech, without >^ or *i#R. rt»D has Dag. forte conj. accord- 
ing to the rule of the pvho TIN (concerning which vid. on lii. 
5), because it is erroneously regarded as an essential part 
of the text. 



1 b WHY, Jahve, standest Thou afar off, 

Why hidest Thou Thyself in times of trouble!? 

2 Through the pride of the evil-doer the afflicted burnetii 

with fear, 
They are taken in the plots which they have devised. 

3 For the evil-doer boasteth of his soul's desire, 
And the covetous renounceth [and] despiseth Jahve. 

4 The evil-doer in his scornfulness — : "With nothing 

will He punish! 
There is no God!" is the sum of his thoughts. 

5 Sure are his ways at all times; 

Far above are Thy judgments, out of his sight; 
All his adversaries, he puffeth at them. 

G He saith in his heart : with nothing shall I be moved, 
From one generation to another I am he to whom no 
misfortune comes. 
7 Of cursing is his mouth full, and of deceit and oppres- 
Under his tongue is trouble and evil. 

Digitized by 


174 PSALM X. 

8 He sitteth in the lurking-places of the villages, 
In the secret corners doth he slay the innocent; 
His eyes, they lie in wait for the weak. 

9 He lieth in wait in the secret corner as a lion in his 

He lieth in wait to carry off the afflicted, 
He carrieth off the afflicted, drawing him away in 

his net. 

10 He croucheth, he cowereth and there fall into his claws 

— the weak. 

11 He saith in his heart: "God hath forgotten, 
He hath hidden His face, He hath never seen." 

12 p Arise, Jahve; God lift up Thine hand, 

Forget not the sufferer 1 

13 Wherefore should the evil-doer blaspheme the Deity, 
Saying in his heart: Thou dost not punish?! 

14 1 Thou dost indeed see it; for Thou beholdest trouble 

and grief, to lay it in Thy hand; 

The weak committeth himself to Thee, 
Thou art the helper of the orphan. 

15 B* Break Thou the arm of the evil-doer; 

And the wicked man — punish his evil-doing, that it 
may vanish before Thee! 

16 Jahve is King for ever and ever, 

The heathen are perished out of His land. 

17 n The desire of the sufferers hast Thou heard, Jahve, 

Thou didst establish their heart, didst cause Thine ear 
to hear, 

18 To obtain justice for the orphan and the oppressed, 
That man of the earth may no more terrrify. 

This Psalm and Ps. xxxiii. are the only ones that are 
anonymous in the First book of the Psalms. But Ps. x. has 
something peculiar about it. The LXX. gives it with Ps. ix. 
as one Psalm, and not without a certain amount of warrant 

Digitized by 


PSALM X. 175 

for so doing. Both are laid out in tetrastichs; only in the 
middle portion of Ps. z. some three line strophes are mixed 
with the four line. And assuming that the p-strophe, with 
which Ps. ix. closes, stands in the place of a 3-strophe which 
one would look for after the '-strophe, then Ps. x., be- 
ginning with b, continues the order of the letters. At any 
rate it begins in the middle of the alphabet, whereas Ps. ix. 
begins at the beginning. It is true the ^-strophe is then 
followed by strophes without the letters that come next in 
order; but their number exactly corresponds to the letters 
between b and p, ■», \tf, n with which the last four strophes 
of the Psalm begin, viz. six, corresponding to the letters Q, 
2, D, Vi £t S, which are not introduced acrostically. In ad- 
dition to this it is to be remarked that Ps. ix. and x. are 
most intimately related to one another by the occurrence 
of rare expressions, as JT1S3 ffiFiJT? and ^j by the use of 
words in the same sense, as rf'UN and b?U; by striking thoughts, 
as "Jahve doth not forget" and "Arise"; and by similarities 
of style, as the use of the oratio directa instead of obliqua, 
ix. 21, x. 13. And yet it is impossible that the two Psalms 
should be only one. Notwithstanding all their community 
of character they are also radically different. Ps. ix. is a 
thanksgiving Psalm, Ps. x. is a supplicatory Psalm. In the 
latter the personality of the psalmist, which is prominent 
in the former, keeps entirely in the background. The ene- 
mies whose defeat Ps. ix. celebrates with thanksgiving and 
towards whose final removal it looks forward are D>1i, there- 
fore foreign foes; whereas in Ps. x. apostates and persecu- 
tors of his own nation stand in the foreground, and the D'U 
are only mentioned in the last two strophes. In their form 
also the two Psalms differ insofar as Ps. x. has no musical 
mark defining its use, and the tetrastich strophe structure 
of Ps. ix., as we have already observed, it not carried out 
with the same consistency in Ps. x. And is anything really 
wanting to the perfect unity of Ps. ix.? If it is connected with 
Ps. x. and they are read together uno tenore, then the latter 
becomes a tail-piece which disfigures the whole. There are 
only two things possible : Ps. x. is a pendant to Ps. ix. com- 
posed either by David himself, or by some other poet, and 

Digitized by 


176 PSALM X. 1—2. 

closely allied to it by its continuance of the alphabetical 
order. But the possibility of the latter becomes very slight 
when we consider that Ps. x. is not inferior to Ps. ix. in the 
antiquity of the language and the characteristic nature of 
the thoughts. Accordingly the mutual coincidences point to 
the same author, and the two Psalms must be regarded as 
"two co-ordinate halves of one whole, which make a higher 
unity" (Hitz.). That hard, dull, and tersely laconic language 
of deep-seated indignation at moral abominations for which 
the language has, as it were, no one word, we detect also 
elsewhere in some Psalms of David and of his time, those 
Psalms, which we are accustomed to designate as Psalms 
written in the indignant style (in grollendem Stit). 

Vers. 1 — 2. The Psalm opens with the plaintive inquiry, 
why Jahve tarries in the deliverance of His oppressed people. 
It is not a complaining murmuring at the delay that is ex- 
pressed by the question, but an ardent desire that God may 
not delay to act as it becomes His nature and His promise. 
T\rh, which belongs to both members of the sentence, has 
the accent on the ultima, as e. g. before 'Jnaij? in xxii. 2, and 
before nnjnn in Ex. v. 22, in order that neither of the two 
gutturals, pointed with a, should be lost to the ear in rapid 
speaking (vid. on Hi. 8, and Luzzattoonlsa. xi. 2, vby nru).* 
For according to the primitive pronunciation (even before 
the Masoretic) it is to be read: lam'ah Adonaj; so that con- 
sequently n and M are coincident. The poet asks why in the 
present hopeless condition of affairs (on m33 vid. on ix. 10) 
Jahve stands in the distance (pin*l2, only here, instead of 
pirnc), as an idle spectator, and why does He cover (0%P 

* According to the Masora HD? without Dag. is always Milra with 
the single exception of Job vii. 20, and ~B> with Dag. is Mitel; bat, 
when the following closely connected word begins with one of the letters 
VMN it becomes Milra, with five exceptions, vix. xlix. 6, 1 Sam. xrviii. 
15, 2 Sam, xiv. 31 (three instances in which the guttural of the second 
word has the rowel 0, and 2 Sam. ii. 22, and Jer. xv. 18. In the Baby- 
lonian system of pointing, ~D? is always written without Dag. and with 
the accent on the penultimate, vid. Pinsker, Einleilung in das Babylonitck* 
hebraische Pmktalionstyslem, S. 182—184. 

Digitized by 


PSALM X. 3—4. 177 

with orthophonic Dagesh, in order that it may not be pro- 
nounced c6gn), viz. His eyes, so as not to see the desperate 
condition of His people, or also His ears (Lam. iii. 56) so 
as not to hear their supplication. For by the insolent treat- 
ment of the ungodly the poor burns with fear (Ges., Stier, 
Hupf.), not vexation (Hengst.). The assault is a nupwoi^ 
1 Pet. iv, 12. The verb p^t which calls to mind np^l, itops- 
t6?, is perhaps chosen with reference to the heat of feeling 
under oppression, which is the result of the persecution, of the 
(12) VtiyK p^H of the ungodly. There is no harshness in the 
transition from the singular to the plural, because Uj? and 
j?Bh are individualising designations of two different classes 
of men. The subject to IB'crn is the Q^g, and the subject 
to 12VT] is the crytth. The futures describe what usually 
takes place. Those who, apart from this, are afflicted are 
held ensnared in the crafty and malicious devices which the 
ungodly have contrived and plotted against them, without 
being able to disentangle themselves. The punctuation, 
which places Tarcha by % mistakes the relative and inter- 
prets it: "in the plots there, which they have devised". 

Vers. 3 — 4. The prominent features of the situation are 
supported by a detailed description. The proett. express 
those features of their character that have become a matter 
of actual experience, b^n, to praise aloud, generally with the 
accus., is here used with by. of the thing which calls forth 
praise. Far from hiding the shameful desire or passion 
(cxii. 10) of his soul, he makes it an object and ground of 
high and sounding praise, imagining himself to be above 
all restraint human. or divine. Hupfeld translates wrongly: 
"and he blesses the plunderer, he blasphemes Jahve". But 
the jJBh who persecutes the godly, is himself a j)S'2, a cove- 
tous or rapacious person; for such is the designation (else- 
where with jra? Prov. i. 19, or jn J«2 Hab. ii. 9) not merely 
of one who "cuts off" («xij), i. e. obtains unjust gain, by 
trading, but also by plunder, itXeovixxT)?. The verb "*12 (here 
in connection with Mugrash, as in Num. xxiii. 20 with Tiphcha 
T]~c) never directly signifies maledicere in biblical Hebrew as 
it does in the later Talmudic (whence DtJfn I"l3~!2 blasphemy, 
B. Sanhedrin 56 a, and frequently), but to take leave of any 
one with a benediction, and then to bid farewell, to dismiss, 
voi.. I. 12 

Digitized by 


178 ' PSALM X. 5. 

to decline and abandon generally, Job i. 5, and frequently 
(cf. the word remercier, abdanken; and the phrase u das Zeit- 
liche segneri* — to depart this life). The declaration without 
a conjunction is climactic, like Isa. i. 4, Amos iv. 5, Jer. 
xt. 7. ytc, properly to prick, sting, is used of utter re- 
jection by word and deed.* Inver. 4, "the evil-doer accord- 
ing to his haughtiness" (cf. Prov. xvi. 18) is nom. absol., 
and OTibtt pN tShT~^3 (contrary to the accentuation) is vir- 
tually the predicate to VPIlBTCrfe This word, which denotes 
the intrigues of the ungodly, in ver. 2, has in this verse, the 

general meaning: thoughts (from DDT, 2\, to join, combine), 

but not without being easily associated with the secondary 
idea of that which is subtly devised. The whole texture of 
his thoughts is, t. e. proceeds from and tends towards the 
thought, that he (viz. Jahve, whom he does not like to name) 
will punish with nothing (^2 the strongest form of subjective 
negation), that in fact there is no God at all. This second 
follows from the first; for to deny the existence of a living, 
acting, all-punishing (in one word: a personal) God, is 
equivalent to denying the existence of any real and true 
God whatever (Ewald). 

Ver. 5. This strophe, consisting of only three lines, 
describes his happiness which he allows nothing to disturb. 
The signification: to be lasting (prop, stiff, strong) is se- 
cured to the verb bv (whence ^n) by Job xx. 21. He takes 
whatever ways he choses , they always lead to the desired 
end; he stands fast, he neither stumbles nor goes astray, 
cf. Jer. xii. 1. The Chethib oil (13T1) has no other meaning 
than that given to it by the Keri (cf. xxiv. 6, lviii. 8). What- 
ever might cast a cloud over his happiness does not trouble 
him: neither the judgments of God, which are removed high 
as the heavens out of his sight, and consequently do not 
disturb his conscience (cf. xxviii. 5, Isa. v. 12; and the op- 
posite, xviii. 23), nor his adversaries whom he bloweth upon 
contemptuously. ODD is the predicate: altissime remote 
And 2 irBfl, to breathe upon, does not in any case signify: 

'Paseh stands between ym and HIT! 1 , because to blaspheme God 
ii a terrible thought and not to be spoken of without hesitancy, ef. 
the Pasek in lxziv. 18, lxixij. 52, Is*, xxxvii. 24 (2 Kings xix. 23). 

Digitized by 


PSALM X. 6-8. 179 

actually to blow away or down (to express which ;tjt or 
Fj^j would be used), but either to "snub", or, what is more 
appropriate to ver. 5b, to blow upon them disdainfully, to 
puff at them, like iren in Mai. i. 13, and flare rosat (to 
despise the roses) in Prudentius. The meaning is not that 
he drives his enemies away without much difficulty, but 
that by his proud and haughty bearing he gives them to 
understand how little they interfere with him. 

Vers. 6 — 7. Then in his boundless carnal security he 
gives free course to his wicked tongue. That which the be- 
liever can say by reason of his fellowship with God, BU9N~^3 
(xxx. 7, xvi. 8), is said by him in godless self-confidence. 
He looks upon himself in age after age, i. e. in the endless 
future, as jrat6"lBtot, i. e. as one who ("ii$t as in Isa. viii. 20) 
will never be in evil case (jTQ as in Ex. v. 19, 2 Sam. xvi. 
8). It might perhaps also be interpreted according to Zech. 
viii. 20, 23 (vid. Kohler, in loc): in all time to come (it 
will come to pass) that I am not in misfortune. But then 
the personal pronoun (y« or Kin) ought not be omitted ; 
whereas with our interpretation it is supplied from tSIBN, and 
there is no need to supply anything if the clause is taken 
as an apposition: in all time to come he who... In con- 
nection with such unbounded self-confidence his mouth is 
full of ni?N, cursing, execratio (not perjury, perjurium, a 
meaning the word never has), ntOID.deceit and craft of every 
kind, and 7]Fl,oppression, violence. And that which he has 
under his tongue, and consequently always in readiness for 
being put forth (cxl. 4, cf. lxvi. 17), is trouble for others, 
and in itself matured wickedness. Paul has made use of 
this ver. 7 in his contemplative description of the corruptness 
of mankind, Rom. iii. 14. 

Ver. 8. The ungodly is described as a Her in wait; 
and one is reminded by it of such a state of anarchy, as 
that described in Hos. vi. 9 for instance. The picture fixes 
upon one simple feature in which the meanness of the un- 
godly culminates; and it is possible that it is intended to 
be taken as emblematical rather than literally. "iSTl (from 
"isn to surround, cf. Ja^., ua&, and especially j-«x=».) is a 
farm premises walled in (Arab, hadar, hadar, haddra), then 
losing the special characteristic of being walled round it 


Digitized by 


180 PSALM X. 8. 

comes to mean generally a settled abode (with a house of 
clay or stone) in opposition to a roaming life in tents (cf. 
Lev. xxv. 31, Gen. xxr. 16). In such a place where men are 
more sure of falling into his hands than in the open plain, 
he lies in wait (2B£, like «J Juu> subsedit «= insidiatus est ei), 
murders unobserved him who had never provoked his ven- 
geance, and his eyes u&sn fD^nb. MBit to spie, xxxvii. 32, 
might have been used instead of jBS; but ]BS also obtains the 
meaning, to lie in ambush (lvi. 7, Prov. i. 11, 18) from the 
primary notion of restraining one's self (,jJu6 fill, i. in Be- 
duin Arabic: to keep still, to be immoveably lost in thought, 
vid. on Job xxiv. 1), which takes a transitive turn in jgj 
•to conceal", !"D^n, the dative of the object, is pointed just 
as though it came from Sn: Thy host, i. e. Thy church, 
Jahve. The pausal form accordingly is np^n with Segol, in 
ver. 14, not with Tsere as in incorrect editions. And the 
appeal against this interpretation, which is found in the 
plur. D^ND^n ver. 10, is set aside by the fact that this plural 
is taken as a double word: host (^n «— Wl =■ bvn as in Obad. 
ver. 20) of the troubled ones (D'WS, not as Ben-Labrat sup- 
poses, for D'JOJ, but from flfcO weary, and mellow and de- 
cayed), as the Keri (which is followed by the Syriac version) 
and the Masora direct, and accordingly it is pointed DfcO^n 
with Tsere. The punctuation therefore sets aside a word 
which was unintelligible to it, and cannot be binding on us. 
There is a verb 7]i?n, which, it is true, does not occur in the 
Old Testament, but in the Arabic, from the root dU* firmus 
fvit, firmum fecit (whence also JXs* intrans. to be firm, 
ferme", i. e. closed), it gains the signification in reference to 
solour: to be dark (cognate with fen, whence v^fen) and is 
also transferred to the gloom and blackness of misfortune.* 
From this an abstract is formed ^>n or ^>ft Qibe Btoh): 

*Cf. Samachschari's Golden Necklaces, Proverb 67, which Fleischer 
translates: "Which is blacker: the plumage of the raven, which is black 
as coal, or thy life, stranger among strangers?" The word "blacker" 

» » •* - - 

is here expressed by dULa I , just as the verb viJULa. with its infini- 
tives viLJLi. or SJuUk and its derivatives is applied to sorrow and 

Digitized by 


PSALM X. 8—11. 181 

blackness, misfortune, or also of a defective development 
of the senses: imbecility; and from this an adjective D2tn 
— ^n, or also (cf. n?sn, DB^JJEzek. xxxi. 15 — one in a 
condition of languishing, v0) ro^H — i^n, plur. DVefen, 
after the form DWTJ, from nri, Ew. § 189, V. 

Ver. 9. The picture of the jrah, who is become as it 
were a beast of prey, is now worked out further. The lustrum 
of the lion is called 7|b Jer. xxv. 38, or H2D Job xxxviii. 40 : 
a thicket, from "rpp, which means both to interweave and 
to plait over — to cover (without any connection with ^ 
a thorn, Arab, shdk, a thistle). The figure of the lion is 
reversed in the second line , the oj? himself being compared 
to the beast of prey and the jttth to a hunter who drives 
him into the pit- fall and when he has fallen in hastens to 
drag him away 0]K*O, as in xxviii. 3, Job xxiv. 22) in, or by 
means of (Hos. xi. 4, Job xl. 25), his net, in which he has 
become entangled. 

Vers. 10 — 11. The comparison to the lion is still in force 
here and the description recurs to its commencement in the 
second strophe, by tracing back the persecution of the un- 
godly to its final cause. Instead of the Chethib TCW (^311 
perf. consec), the Keri reads DTP more in accordance with 
the Hebrew use of the tenses. Job xxxviii. 40 is the rule 
for the interpretation. The two futures depict the settled 
and familiar lying in wait of the plunderer. True, the Kal 
!"OT in the signification "to crouch down" finds no support 
elsewhere; but the Arab, dakka to make even (cf. Juo* fir- 
miter inheesit loco, of the crouching down of beasts of prey, 
of hunters, and of foes) and the Arab, da'g'ga, compared by 
Hitzig, to move stealthily along, to creep, and dug j eh a 
hunter's hiding-place exhibit synonymous significations. The 
tausivtuasi out6v of the LXX. is not far out of the way. And 
one can still discern in it the assumption that the text is 
to be read nit* T)T\): and crushed he sinks (Aquila: & Si 
XaoOelc xajKp67jasT<xi) ; but even fen is not found elsewhere, 
and if the poet meant that, why could he not have written 
PI313? (cf. moreover Judges v. 27). If riTI is taken in the 
sense of a position in which one is the least likely to be 
seen, then the first two verbs refer to the sculker, but the 
third according to the usual schema (as e.g. cxxiv. 5) is the 

Digitized by 


182 PSALM X. 11—13. 

predicate to DW^n (ovcbti) going before it. Crouching 
down as low as possible he lies on the watch, and the feeble 
and defenceless fall into his strong ones, VC1SJ7, i. e. claws. 
Thus the ungodly slays the righteous, thinking within him- 
self: God has forgotten, He has hidden His face, i. e. He does 
not concern Himself about these poor creatures and does 
not wish to know anything about them (the denial of the 
truth expressed in iz. 13, 19.); He has in fact never been 
one who sees, and never will be. These two thoughts are 
blended; ^g with the perf. as in xxi. 3, and the addition of 
Vdi)b (cf. xciv. 7) denies the possibility of God seeing now 
any more than formerly, as being an absolute absurdity. 
The thought of a personal God would disturb the ungodly 
in his doings , he therefore prefers to deny His existence, 
and thinks: there is only fate and fate is blind, only an ab- 
solute and it has no eyes, only a notion and that cannot 
interfere in the affairs of men. 

Vers. 12 — 13. The six strophes, in which the consecu- 
tive letters from o to s are wanting, are completed, and now 
the acrostic strophes begin again with p. In contrast to 
those who have no God, or only a lifeless idol, the psalmist 
calls upon his God, the living God, to destroy the appear- 
ance that He is not an omniscient Being, by arising to action. 
We have more than one name of God used here; hx is a 
vocative just as in xvi. 1, lxxxiii, 2, cxxxix. 17, 23. He is 
to lift up His hand in order to help and to punish (-p NtW, 
whence comes the imperat. tffco = Kiy, cf. npj iv. 7, like 
"P Plots' cxxxviii. 7 and "P DW Ex. vii. 5 elsewhere). Forget 
not is equivalent to: fulfil the n5tJ't6 of ix. 13, put to shame 
the bx rots' of the ungodly, ver. 11 ! Our translation follows 
the Keri D'lJj?. That which is complained of in vers. 3, 4 
is put in the form of a question to God in ver. 13: where- 
fore ( !"ID"^i?, instead of which we find no~^>y in Num. xxii. 
32, Jer. ix. 1 1 , because the following words begin with let- 
ters of a different class) does it come to pass, t. e. is it per- 
mitted to come to pass? On the perf. in this interrogative 
clause vid. xi. 3. jmp inquires the cause, TVib the aim, and 
nD~^>j? the motive, or in general the reason: on what ground, 
since God's holiness can suffer no injury to His honour? 

Digitized by 


PSALM X. 14—16. 18J 

On tt'TT) i6 with '3, the oratio directa instead of obliqua, vid. 
on ix. 21. 

Ver. 14. Now comes the confirmation of his cry to 
God: It is with Him entirely different from what the un- 
godly imagine. They think that He will not punish; hut He 
does see (cf. 2 Ghron. xxiv. 22), and the psalmist knows and 
confesses it: fir»a (defective — nn*0 xxxv. 22), Thou hast 
seen and dost see what is done to Thine own, what is 
done to the innocent. This he supports by a conclusion 
a genere ad speciem thus: the trouble which is prepared for 
others, and the sorrow (DJO, as in Eccl. vii. 3) which they 
cause them, does not escape the all-seeing eye of God, He 
notes it all, to give it into (lay it in) His hand. "To give 
anything into any one's hand" is equivalent to, into his 
power (1 Kings xx. 28, and frequently), or into any one's 
care (Gen. xxxii. 17, and frequently); but here God gives 
(lays) the things which are not to be administered, but 
requited, into His own hand. The expression is meant to 
be understood according to lvi. 9, cf. Isa. xlix. 16: He is 
observant of the afflictions of His saints, laying them up in 
His hand and preserving them there in order, in His own 
time, to restore them to His saints in joy, and to their ene- 
mies in punishment. Thus, therefore, the feeble and helpless 
(read Tobn or n^fcri; according to the Masoretic text ns^n 
Thy host, not Dd't), which is contrary to the character of 
the form, as pausal form for Tchxi) can leave to Him, viz. 
all his burden (13!T, lv. 23), everything that vexes and dis- 
quiets him. Jahve has been and will be the Helper of the 
fatherless. Dirv stands prominent by way of emphasis, like 
CrtK ix. 13, and Bakius rightly remarks in voce pupttli synec- 
doche est, complectens omnes ittos, qui humanis prcesidiis desti- 

Vers. 15 — 16. The desire for Jahve's interposition now 
rises again with fresh earnestness. It is a mistake to regard 
tffi and nsd as correlative notions. In the phrase to seek 
and not find, when used of that which has totally disap- 
peared, we never have v/~n, but always tfjiQ, xxxvii. 36, Isa. 
xli. 12, «Jer. 1. 20, and frequently. The verb tihn signifies 
here exactly the same as in vers. 4, 13, and ix. 13: "and the 
wicked (nom. absol. as in ver. 4) — mayst Thou punish his 

Digitized by 


184 PSALM X. 16—18. 

wickedness, mayst Thou find nothing more of it". It is not 
without a meaning that, instead of the form of expression 
usual elsewhere (xxxvii. 36, Job xx. 8), the address to Jahve 
is retained: that which is no longer visible to the eye of 
God, not merely of man, has absolutely vanished out of 
existence. This absolute conquest of evil is to be as surely 
looked for, as that Jahve's universal kingship, which has 
been an element of the creed of God's people ever since the 
call and redemption of Israel (Ex. xv. 18), cannot remain 
without being perfectly and visibly realised. His absolute 
and eternal kingship must at length be realised, even in all 
the universality and endless duration foretold in Zech. xiv. 
9, Dan. vii. 14, Apoc. xi. 15. Losing himself in the contem- 
plation of this kingship, and beholding the kingdom of God, 
the kingdom of good, as realised, the psalmist's vision 
stretches beyond the foes of the church at home to its foes 
in general; and, inasmuch as the heathen in Israel and the 
heathen world outside of Israel are blended together into 
one to his mind, he comprehends them all in the collective 
name of Q])}, and sees the land of Jahve (Lev. xxv. 23), 
the holy land, purified of all oppressors hostile to the church 
and its God. It is the same that is foretold by Isaiah (lii. 1), 
Nahum (ii. 1), and in other passages, which, by the antici- 
pation of faith, here stands before the mind of the suppliant 
as an accomplished fact — viz. the consummation of the 
judgment, which has been celebrated in the hymnic half 
(Ps. ix.) of this double Psalm as a judgment already executed 
in part. 

Vers. 17 — 18. Still standing on this eminence from which 
he seems to behold the end, the poet basks in the realisa- 
tion of that which has been obtained in answer to prayer. 
The ardent longing of the meek and lowly sufferers for the 
arising, the parusia of Jahve (Isa. xxvi. 8), has now been 
heard by Him, and that under circumstances which find ex- 
pression in the following futt., which have a past significa- 
tion: God has given and preserved to their hearts the= right 
disposition towards Himself (p?n, as in lxxviii. 8, Job xi, 
13, Sir. ii. 17 eiotpiCeiv xapot'ac, post-biblical j13* and to be 

* B. Berachoth 31a: the man who prays mast direct hit heart 
steadfastly towards God (cnSS^la^ JW)- 

Digitized by 


PSALM X. 18. 185 

understood according to 1 Sam. vii. 3, 2 Chron. xx. 33, cf. 
|123 3^ li. 12, lxxviii. 37; it is equivalent to "the single eye" 
in the language of the New Testament), just as, on the other 
hand, He has set His ear in the attitude of close attention 
to their prayer, and even to their most secret sighings (S^jpH 

- ' - 

with jrfc, as in Pro v. ii. 2; to stiffen the ear, from 2Uffy i_r n'r, 

root vp to be hard, rigid, firm, from which we also have 
TVfc, L*S, ntgfj, ^*»S, c j-**, cf. on Isa. xxi. 7). It was a mu- 
tual relation, the design of which was finally and speedily 
to obtain justice for the fatherless and oppressed, yea crushed, 
few, in order that mortal man of the earth may no longer 
(^3, as in Isa. xiv. 21, and in post-biblical Hebrew b? and 
7& instead of JB) terrify. From the parallel conclusion, ix. 
20, 21, it is to be inferred that tflJN does not refer to the 
oppressed but to the oppressor, and is therefore intended 
as the subject; and then the phrase |nN!T|c also belongs to 
it, as in xrii. 14, people of the world, lxxx. 14 boar of the 
woods , whereas in Prov. xxx. 14 yvxo belongs to the verb 
(to devour from off the earth). It is only in this combination 
that jnN!T|D ttfJN forms with y-^h a significant paronoma- 
sia, by contrasting the conduct of the tyrant with his true 
nature: a mortal of the earth, i. e. a being who, far removed 
from any possibility of vying with the God who is in heaven, 
has the earth as his birth-place. It is not ncrwTTJD, for the 
earth is not referred to as the material out of which man 
is formed, but as his ancestral house, his home, his bound, 
just as in the expression of John 6 <ov ix ttj« 7^;, iii. 31 
(Lat. ut non amplius terreat homo terrenus). A similar play 
of words was attempted before in ix. 20 tP'ttt* TJJ"i*?« The 
Hebrew verb y)]} signifies both to give way to fear, Deut. 
vii. 21, and to put in fear, Isa. ii. 19, 21, xlvii. 12. It does 
mean "to defy, rebel against", although it might have this 
meaning according to the Arabic y&yji (to come in the way, 

withstand, according to which Wetzstein explains J«nj> Job 
xxx. 6, like ^tft, "a valley that runs slantwise across a 

district, a gorge that blocks up the traveller's way".*). It 
is related to (jo%* to vibrate, tremble {e.g. of lightning). 

* Zeittchrifl fur Allgtm. Erd'tunde xviii (1865) J, S. 30. 

Digitized by VjOOQK 

186 PSALM XI. 



1 IN Jahve put I my trust — how say ye to my soul: 
"Flee to your mountain [as] a birdl 

2 "For, lo, the wicked have bent the bow, 

"They have made ready their arrow upon the string, 
"To shoot the upright in heart in the dark. 

3 "When the pillars are pulled down, 
"The righteous — what will he do?l" 

4 Jahve in His holy temple, 

Jahve, who hath His throne in heaven — 

His eyes behold, His eyelids try the children of men. 

5 Jahve, He trieth the righteous, 

And the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul 

6 Upon the wicked He shall rain snares; 

Fire, brimstone, and burning wind is the portion of 
their cup. 

7 For Jahve is righteous, loving righteousness : 
The upright shall behold His countenance. 

Fs. xi., which likewise confidently sets the all-seeing ey6 
of Jahve before the ungodly who carry out their murderous 
designs under cover of the darkness, is placed after Ps. z. 
The life of David (to whom even Hitzig and Ewald ascribe 
this Psalm) is threatened, the pillars of the state are shaken, 
they counsel the king to flee to the mountains. These are 
indications of the time when the rebellion of Absolom was 
secretly preparing, but still clearly discernible. Although 
hurrying on with a swift measure and clear in the princi- 
pal thoughts, still this Psalm is not free from difficult points, 
just as it is with all the Psalms which contain similar dark 
passages from the internal condition of Israel. The gloomy 
condition of the nation seems to be reflected in the very 
language. The strophic plan is not easily discernible; never- 
theless we cannot go far wrong in dividing the Psalm into 
two seven line strophes with a two line epiphonema. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XI. I— S. 187 

Vers. 1 — 3. David rejects the advice of his friends to 
save his life by flight. Hidden in Jahve (xvi. 1, xxxvi. 8) 
he needs no other refuge. However well-meant and well- 
grounded the advice, he considers it too full of fear and is 
himself too confident in God, to follow it. David also intro- 
duces his friends as speaking in other passages in the Psalms 
belonging to the period of the Absolom persecution, iii. 3, 
iv. 7. Their want of courage, which he afterwards had to 
reprove and endeavour to restore, shewed itself even before 
the storm had burst, as we see here. With the words "how 
can you say* he rejects their proposal as unreasonable, and 
turns it as a reproach against them. If the Chethib, nu, is 
adopted, then those who are well-disposed, say to David, 
including with him his nearest subjects who are faithful to 
him: retreat to your mountain, (ye) birds ("ilDV collective 
as in viii. 9, cxlviii. 10); or, since this address sounds too 
derisive to be appropriate to the lips of those who are sup- 
posed to be speaking here: like birds (eomparatio decurtata 
as in xxii. 14, lviii. 9, Job zxiv. 5, Isa. xxi. 8). DXlH which 
seems more natural in connection with the vocative render- 
ing of T1EK (cf. Isa. xviii. 6 with Ezek. xxxix. 4) may also 
be explained, with the comparative rendering, without any 
need for the conjecture TIBS 103 ID (cf. Deut. xxxiii. 19), as a 
retrospective glance at the time of the persecution under Saul: 
to the mountains, which formerly so effectually protected 
you (cf. 1 Sam. xxvi. 20, xxiii. 14). But the Keri, which is 
followed by the ancient versions, exchanges Hti for nu, cf. 
yyot Isa. li. 23. Even reading it thus we should not take 
"I1DS, which certainly is epicoene, as vocative: flee to your 
mountain, bird (Hitz.); and for this reason, that this form 
of address is not appropriate to the idea of those who pre- 
fer their counsel. But we should take it as an equation 
instead of a comparison: fly to your mountain (which gave 
you shelter formerly), a bird, i. e. after the manner of a bird 
that flies away to its mountain home when it is chased in 
the plain. But this Keri appears to be a needless correction, 
which removes the difficulty of HU coming after ytfeb, by 
putting another in the place of this synallage numeri.* 

* According to the abore rendering: "Flee ye to tout nmntain, 

Digitized by 


188 PSALM XL 2-0. 

In ver. 2 the faint-hearted ones give as the ground cf 
their advice, the fearful peril which threatens from the side of 
crafty and malicious foes. As T\2J) implies, this danger is im- 
minent. The perfect overrides the future: they are not only 
already in the act of bending the how, they have made ready 
their arrow, i. e. their deadly weapon, upon the string (irn 
— ")PM0, xxi. 13, Arab, tvatar, from 1IT, tvatara, to stretch 
tight, extend, so that the thing is continued in one straight 
line) and even taken aim , in order to discharge it (f"IT with 
b of the aim, as in lxiv. 5, with ace. of the object) in the 
dark (i. e. secretly, like an assassin) at the upright (those 
who by their character are opposed to them). In ver. 3 the 
faint-hearted still further support their advice from the pre* 
Bent total subversion of justice, nlnc^n are either the highest 
ranks, who support the edifice of the state, according to 
Isa. xix. 10, or, according to lxxxii. 5, Ezek. xxx. 4, the 
foundations of the state, upon whom the existence and well- 
being of the land depends. We prefer the latter, since the 
king and those who are loyal to him, who are associated in 
thought with pns, are compared to thenirW. The construction 
of the clause beginning with >2 is like Job xxxviii. 41. The 
fui. has a present signification. The perf. in the principal 
clause , as it frequently does elsewhere (e. g. xxxix. 8, lx. 11, 
Gen. xxi. 7, Num. xxiii. 10, Job xii. 9, 2 Kings xx. 9) in 
interrogative sentences, corresponds to the Latin conjunctive 
(here quid fecerit), and is to be expressed in English by the 
auxiliary verbs: when the bases of the state are shattered, 
what can the righteous do? he can do nothing. And all 
counter-effort is so useless that it is well to be as far from 
danger as possible. 

Vers. 4 — 6. The words of David's counsellors who fear 
for him are now ended. And David justifies his confidence 
in God with which he began his song. Jahve sits enthroned 

a bird" it would require to be accented TIBS COIfi HU (as a trans- 
formation from -]1BS COin ITU, vid. Baer's Aecentssystem XVIII. 2). 
The interpunction as we have it, "y\Bi 03in HI J, harmonises with 
the interpretation of Varenius as of L5b Spira (Pcntateuck-Comm. 1815): 
Fugite (o socH Davidis), mont vesler (h. e. presidium vestrum. Pa. xxx. 8, 
cut innilimini) est avis errant. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XI. 6—7. 189 

above all that takes place on earth that disheartens those 
of little faith. At an infinite distance above the earth, and 
also above Jerusalem, now in rebellion, is a tthj? byT\, xviii. 
7, xxix. 9, and in this holy temple is Jahve, the Holy One. 
Above the earth are the heavens, and in heaven is the throne 
of Jahve, the King of kings. And this temple, this palace in 
the heavens, is the place whence issues the final decision of all 
earthly matters, Hab. ii. 20, Mic. i. 2. For His throne above 
is also the super -terrestrial judgment -seat, ix. 8, ciii. 19. 
Jahve who sits thereon is the all -seeing and omniscient One. 
run prop, to split, cf. cernere, is used here according to its 
radical meaning, of a sharp piercing glance. JTO prop, to 
try metals by fire, of a fixed and penetrating look that sees 
into a thing to the foundation of its inmost nature. The 
mention of the eyelids is intentional. When we observe a 
thing closely or ponder over it, we draw the eyelids together, 
in order that our vision may be more concentrated and 
direct, and become, as it were, one ray piercing through the 
object. Thus are men open to the all -seeing eyes, the all- 
searching looks of Jahve : the just and the unjust alike. He 
tries the righteous, t. e. He knows that in the depth of his 
soul there is an upright nature that will abide all testing 
(xvii. 3, Job xxiii. 10), so that He lovingly protects him, 
just as the righteous lovingly depends upon Him. And His 
soul hates (t. e. He hates him with all the energy of His per- 
fectly and essentially holy nature) the evil-doer and him 
that delights in the violence of the strong towards the weak. 
And the more intense this hatred, the more fearful will be 
the judgments in which it bursts forth. 

Ver. 7, which assumes a declaration of something that 
is near at hand, is opposed to our rendering the voluntative 
form of the fut., ")1302> M expressive of a wish. The shorter 
form of the future is frequently indicative in the sense of 
the future, e. g. lxxii. 13, or of the present, e. g. lviii. 5, or 
of the past, xviii. 12. Thus it here affirms a fact of the 
future which follows as a necessity from vers. 4, 5. Assum- 
ing that DTI0 might be equivalent to D>CPIS, even then the 
Hebrew cno, according to the general usage of the language, 
in distinction from n^PJ, does not denote burning, but black 
coals. It ought therefore to have been #K 'cr®. Hitzig 

Digitized by 


190 PSALM XI. 7. 

reads CT© from 17B ashes; but a rain of ashes is no medium 
of punishment. Bottcher translates it "lumps" according to 
Ex. xxxix. 3, Num. xvii. 3 ; but in these passages the word 
means thin plates. We adhere to the signification snares, 
Job xxii.' 10, cf. xxi. 17, Prov. xxii. 5; and following the 
accentuation, we understand it to be a means of punishment 
by itself. First of all descends a whole discharge of missile* 
which render all attempt at flight impossible, viz. light- 
nings; for the lightning striking out its course and travelling 
from one point in the distance, bending itself like a serpent, 
may really be compared to a snare, or noose, thrown down 
from above. In addition to fire and brimstone (Gen. xix. 24) 
we have also ffl?J$T rfil. The LXX. renders it nveu|*a xaxai- 
7180;, and the Targum N^lJ^j? NBJ7T, procella turbinea. The 
root is not vpb, which cannot be sustained as a cognate 
form of 3T)b, 2ttb to burn, but *)jn, which (as Sam. v. 10 
shews) exactly corresponds to the Latin cesluare which com- 
bines in itself the characteristics of heat and violent motion, 
therefore perhaps: a wind of flames, i. e. the deadly simoom, 
which, according to the present division of the verse is re- 
presented in connection with rvjBJi B'K, as the breath of the 
divine wrath pouring itself forth like a stream of brimstone, 
Isa. xxx. 33. It thus also becomes clear how this can be 
called the portion of their cup, 1. e. what is adjudged to them 
ns the contents of their cup which they must drain off. nip 
(only found in the Davidic Psalms, with the exception of 
2 Chron. xxxi. 4) is both absolutivus and constructivus accord- 
ing to Olshausen (§§ 108, c, 165, t), and is derived from mana- 
jath, or manatvaih, with the original feminine termination atk, 
the final weak radical being blended with it. According to 
Hupfeld it is constr., springing from nye, like nsp (in Dan. 
and Neh.) from niSj?. But probably it is best to regard it 
as — riUD or rroe, like n^a — ni^i. 

Ver. 7. Thus then Jahve is in covenant with David. 
Even though he cannot defend himself against his enemies, 
still, when Jahve gives free course to His hatred in judgment, 
they will then have to do with the powers of wrath and 
death, which they will not be able to escape. When the 
closing distich bases this different relation of God towards 
the righteous and the unrighteous and this judgment of the 

Digitized by 


PSALM XL 7. 191 

latter ou the righteousness of God, we at once perceive what 
a totally different and blessed end awaits the righteous. As 
Jahve Himself is righteous, so also on His part (1 Sam. xii 
7, Mic. vi. 5, and frequently) and on the part of man (Isa. 
xxxiii. 15) He loves nijrnt, the works of righteousness. The 
object of 3HN (— Silk) stands at the head of the sentence, 
as in xcix. 4, cf. x. 14. In ver. 7b ib/» designates the upright 
as a class, hence it is the more natural for the predicate to 
follow in the plur. (cf. ix. 7, Job viii. 19) than to precede 
as elsewhere (Prov. xxviii. 1, Isa. xvi. 4). The rendering: 
'His countenance looks upon the upright man" (Hengst. and 
others) is not a probable one, just because one expects to 
find something respecting the end of the upright in contrast 
to that of the ungodly. This rendering is also contrary 
to the general usage of the language, according to which 
D'JD is always used only as that which is to be seen, not as 
that which itself sees. It ought to have been y&yy , xxxiii. 
18, xxxiv. 16, Job xxxvi. 7. It must therefore be translated 
according to xvii. 15, cxl. 13: the upright (quisquis probus 
est) shall behold His countenance. The pathetic form 1DOD 
instead of "MB was specially admissible here, where God is 
spoken of (as in Deut. xxxiii. 2, cf. Isa. xliv. 15). It ought 
not to be denied any longer that mo is sometimes (e. g. Job 
xx. 23, cf. xxii. 2, xxvii. 23) a dignified singular suffix. To 
behold the face of God is in itself impossible to mortals 
without dying. But when God reveals Himself in love, then 
He makes His countenance bearable to the creature. And 
to enjoy this vision of God softened by love is the highest 
honour God in His mercy can confer on a man; it is the 
blessedness itself that is reserved for the upright, cxl. 14 
It is not possible to say that what is intended is a future 
vision of God; but it is just as little possible to say that 
it is exclusively a vision in this world. To the Old Testa- 
ment conception the future n^lj? is certainly lost in the night 
of Sheol. But faith broke through this night, and consoled 
itself with a future beholding of God, Job xix. 26. The re- 
demption of the New Testament has realised this aspiration 
of faith, since the Bedeemer has broken through the night 
of the realm of the dead, has borne on high with Him the 

Digitized by 



Old Testament saints, and translated them into the sphere 
of the divine love revealed in heaven. 



2 HELP, Jahve, for the godly man ceaseth, 

For the faithful have vanished from among the children 
of menl 

8 They speak falsehood one with another, 

Flattering lips with a double heart, they speak. 

4 May Jahve root out all flattering lips, 

The tongue that speaketh great swelling words, 

5 Which say: to our tongue we impart strength, 
Our lips are with us, who is lord over us? I 

6 "Because of the desolation of the afflicted, the sighing 

of the poor, 
•Will I now arise — saith Jahve — 
"In safety will I set him who languisheth for it." — 

7 The words of Jahve are pure words, 

Silver melted down in the furnace, to the earth, 
Purified seven times. 

8 Thou, Jahve, wilt defend them, 

Thou wilt preserve him from this generation for ever; 

9 The wicked strut about on every side, 

When vileness among the children of men is exalted. 

Ps. xi. is appropriately followed by Ps. xii., which is of 
a kindred character: a prayer for the deliverance of the poor 
and miserable in a time of universal moral corruption, and 
more particularly of prevailing faithlessness and boasting. 
The inscription: To the Precentor, on the Octave, a Psalm of 
David points us to the time when the Temple music was being 
established, i. e. the time of David — incomparably the best 
age in the history of Israel, and yet, viewed in the light of the 

Digitized by 


PSALM XII. 2—3. 193 

spirit of holiness, an age so radically corrupt. The true people 
of J ah ve were even then, as ever, a church of confessors and 
martyrs, and the sighing for the coming of Jahve was then 
not less deep than the cry "Come, Lord Jesus 1" at the present 

This Ps. xii. together with Ps. ii. is a second example of 
the way in which the psalmist, when under great excitement 
of spirit, passes over into the tone of one who directly hears 
God's words, and therefore into the tone of an inspired 
prophet. Just as lyric poetry in general, as being a direct 
and solemn expression of strong inward feeling, is the 
earliest form of poetry: so psalm -poetry contains in itself 
not only the mashal, the epos, and the drama in their pre- 
formatire stages, but prophecy also, as we have it in the 
prophetic writings of its most nourishing period, has, as it 
were, sprung from the bosom of psalm-poetry. It is through- 
out a blending of prophetical epic and subjective lyric ele- 
ments, and is in many respects the echo of earlier psalms, 
and even in some instances (as e.g. Isa. xii., Hab. iii.) trans- 
forms itself into the strain of a psalm. Hence Asaph is called 
nthn in 2 Chron. xxix. 30, not from the special character 
of his Psalms, but from his being a psalmist in general; for 
Jeduthun has the same name given to him in 2 Chron. xxxv. 
15, and N23 in 1 Chron. xxv. 2 sq. (cf. irpocpujTeoetv, Luke i. 
67) is used directly as an epithet for psalm -singing with 
accompaniment — a clear proof that in prophecy the co- 
operation of a human element is no less to be acknowledged, 
than the influence of a divine element in psalm-poesy. 

The direct words of Jahve, and the psalmist's Amen to 
them, form the middle portion of this Psalm — a six line 
strophe, which is surrounded by four line strophes. 

Vers. 2 — 3. The sigh of supplication, nycfin, has its 
object within itself: work deliverance, give help; and the 
motive is expressed by the complaint which follows. The 
verb *ic| to complete, means here, as in vii. 10, to have an 
end; and the 4rc. Xe-f. DD© is equivalent to DEN in lxxvii. 9, 
to come to the extremity, to cease. It is at once clear from 
the predicate being placed first in the plur., that DOTON in 
this passage Is not an abstraction, as e. g. in Prov. xiii. 17.; 
moreover the parallelism is against it, just as in xxxi. 24. 

VOL l 13 

Digitized by 


194 PSALM XII. 3— 5. 

"Vpn is the pious man, as one who practises "ion towards 
God and man. jlCN, primary form pBN (plur. DyiCN; whereas 
from jlDN we should expect DUIOJ*), — used as an adjective 
(cf. on the contrary Deut. xxxii. 20) here just as in xxxi. 
24, 2 Sam. xx. 19, — is the reliable, faithful, conscientious 
man, literally one who is firm, i. e. whose word and meaning 
is firm, so that one can rely upon it and be certain in relation 
to it. * We find similar complaints of the universal preva- 
lence of wickedness in Mic. vii. 2, Isa. lvii. 1, Jer. vii. 28, and 
elsewhere. They contain their own limitation. For although 
those who complain thus without pharisaic self- righteous- 
ness would convict themselves of being affected by the pre- 
vailing corruption, they are still, in their penitence, in their 
sufferings for righteousness' sake, and in their cry for help, 
a standing proof that humanity has not yet, without ex- 
ception, become a massa perdita. That which the writer 
especially laments, is the prevailing untruthfulness. Men 
speak jots' (= Nits' from N1BQ> desolation and emptiness under 
a disguise that conceals its true nature, falsehood (xli. 7), 
and hypocrisy (Job xxxv. 13), Sxaoto; itpo« tov itXtjoiov adtoS 
(LXX., cf. Ephes. iv. 25, where the greatness of the sin finds 
its confirmation according to the teaching of the New Testa- 
ment: 8xi lojiev dXXijXwv |iiXi)). They speak lips of smooth- 
nesses (fflp/'n, plural from HjAp, Icevitates, or from p^rt, 
tevia), i. e. the smoothest, most deceitful language (accusa- 
tive of the object as in Isa. xix. 18) with a double heart, 
inasmuch, namely, as the meaning they deceitfully express 
to others, and even to themselves^ differs from the purpose 
they actually cherish, or even (cf. 1 Chron. xii. 33 zb »6a 
zh\ t and James i. 8 8tyuxo«, wavering) inasmuch as the pur- 
pose they now so flatteringly put forth quickly changes to 
the very opposite. 

Vers. 4 — 5. In this instance the voluntative has its own 
proper signification: may He root out (cf. cix. 15, and the 
oppositive xi. 6). Flattering lips and a vaunting tongue are 

*The Aryan Toot man to remain, abide (Neo-Persic manden), ala* 
takes a similar course, signifying usually "to continue in any coarse, 
wait, hope." So the old Persic man, Zend upaman, cf. |iiveiv with its 
derivatives which are applied in several ways in the New Testament to 

characterise n(<m;. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XII. 5—7. 195 

one, insofar as the braggart becomes a flatterer when it 
serves his own selfish interest. ntg'K refers to lips and tongue, 
which are put for their possessors. The Hiph. I'ZDH may 
mean either to impart strength, or to give proof of strength. 
The combination with b, not 3, favours the former: we will 
give emphasis to our tongue (this is their self-confident de- 
claration). Hupfeld renders it, contrary to the meaning of 
the Hiph.: over our tongue we have power, and Ewald 
and Olshausen, on the ground of an erroneous interpretation 
of Dan. ix. 27, render: we make or have a firm covenant 
with our tongue. They describe their lips as being their 
confederates (nt< as in 2 Kings ix. 32), and by the expression 
"who is lord over us" they declare themselves to be abso- 
lutely free, and exalted above all authority. If any authority 
were to assert itself over them, their mouth would put it 
down and their tongue would thrash it into submission. 
But Jahve, whom this making of themselves into gods chal- 
lenges , will not always suffer His own people to be thus 

Vers. 6 — 7. In ver. 6 the psalmist hears Jahve Himself 
speak; and in ver. 7 he adds his Amen. The two jo in ver. 6 
denote the motive, nnj? the decisive turning-point from fore- 
bearance to the execution of judgment, and ictf' the divine 
determination, which has just now made itself audible; cf. 
Isaiah's echo of it, Isa. xxxiii. 10. Jahve has hitherto looked 
on with seeming inactivity and indifference, now He will 
arise and place in j>t£, i. e a condition of safety (cf. D«H3 Ofy 
lxvi. 9), him who languishes for deliverance. It is not to be 
explained: him whom he, t. e. the boaster, blows upon, which 
would be expressed by 13 JTDJ, cf. x, 5; but, with Ewald, 
Hengstenberg, Olshausen, and Bottcher, according to Hab. 
ii. 3, where b ITEH occurs in the sense of panting after an 
object: him who longs for it. PPBJ is, however, not a parti- 
cipial adjective ■= p©;, but the fut., and ^> its? is therefore 
a relative clause occupying the place of the object, just as 
we find the same thing occurring in Job xxiv. 19, Isa. xli. 
2, 25, and frequently. Hupfeld's rendering: "in order that 
he may gain breath (respirety leaves rv:2>N without an ob- 
ject, and accords more with Aramaic and Arabic than with 

13 • 

Digitized by 


196 PSALM XII. 7. 

Hebrew usage, which woul<? express this idea by 1^ tJW or 

£ nyr. 

In ver. 7 the announcement of Jahve is followed by 
its echo in the heart of the seer: the words (ffiTDNI instead 
of nVlDN by changing the Shebd which closes the syllable 
into an audible one, as e.g. in n&'N) of Jahve are pure words, 
i. e. intended, and to be fulfilled, absolutely as they run 
without any admixture whatever of untruthfulness. The 
poetical n*}CN (after the form D"1C]) serves pre-eminently as 
the designation of the divine power-words of promise. The 
figure, which is indicated in other instances, when God's 
word is said to be HWIS (xviii. 31, cxix. 140, Prov. xxx. 5), 
is here worked out: silver melted and thus purified b'Sya 

yyfo. ^S, signifies either a smelting- pot from bby, JU, 
immittere, whence also by (Hitz.) ; or, what is more probable 
since the language has the epithets yo and ryiso for this : a 

workshop, from bby r , Ja, operari (prop, to set about a thing), 
first that which is wrought at (after the form typo, tyo©, tyatf), 
then the place where the work is carried on. From this also 
comes the Talm. W>|72 — « vbxs manifeste, occurring in the 
Mishna Bosh ha-Shana i. 5 and elsewhere, and which in its 
first meaning corresponds to the French en effet* Accord- 
ing to this, the b in p"tt6 is not the b of property: in a fining- 
pot built into the earth, for which y\vb witbout anything 
further would be an inadequate and colourless expression. 
But in accordance with the usual meaning of y~\vb as a 
collateral definition it is: smelted (purified) down to the 
earth. As Olshausen observes on this subject, "Silver that 
is purified in the furnace and flows down to the ground can 
be seen in every smelting hut; the pure liquid silver flows 
down out of the smelting furnace, in which the ore is piled 
up." For it cannot be b of reference: "purified with respect 
to the earth", since f\H does not denote the earth as a ma- 
terial and cannot therefore mean an earthy element. We 
ought then to read y2i$b, which would not mean "to a white 
brilliancy", i. e. to a pure bright mass (Bottch.), but "with 

* On this word with reference to this passage of the Psalm mi, 
Steinschneider's Hebr. Bibliographie 1861, S. 83. 

Digitized by 


PSALM X1L 8-9. 197 

respect to the stannum, lead* (vid. on Isa. i. 25). The verb 
pj37 to strain , filter , cause to ooze through, corresponds to 
the German seihen, seigen, old High German silian, Greek 
oaxxstv (oaxxtCetv), to clean by passing through a cloth as a 
strainer, pip. God's word is solid silver smelted and leaving 
all impurity behind, and, as it were, having passed seven 
times through the smelting furnace, i. e. the purest silver, 
entirely purged from dross. Silver is the emblem of every- 
thing precious and pure (vid. Bahr, Symbol, i, 284); and 
seven is the number indicating the completion of any pro- 
cess (Bibl. Psychol. S. 57., transl. p. 71). 

Vers. 8 — 9. The supplicatory complaint contained in 
the first strophe has passed into an ardent wish in the se- 
cond; and now in the fourth there arises a consolatory hope 
based upon the divine utterance which was heard in the 
third strophe. The suffix em in ver. 8 a refers to the miser- 
able and poor; the suffix ennu in ver. 8b (him, not: us, 
which would be pointed OTXn, and more especially since it 
is not preceded by •IJiOtfn) refers back to the man who 
yearns for deliverance mentioned in the divine utterance, 
ver. 6. The "preserving for ever* is so constant, that neither 
now nor at any future time will they succumb to this gene- 
ration. The oppression shall not become a thorough depres- 
sion, the trial shall not exceed their power of endurance. 
What follows in ver. 9 is a more minute description of this 
depraved generation, Th is the generation whole and entire 
bearing one general character and doing homage to the one 
spirit of the age (cf. e. g. Prov. xxx. 11 — 14, where the 
characteristics of a corrupt age are portrayed). IT (always 
without the article, Ew. § 293, a) points to the present and 
the character it has assumed, which is again described here 
finally in a few outlines of a more general kind than in 
vera. 3 — 5. The wicked march about on every side (^nriH 
used of going about unopposed with an arrogant and vaunt- 
ing mien), when (while) vileness among (b) the children 
of men rises to eminence (dd as. in Prov. xi. 11, cf. bura 
Prov. xxix. 2), so that they come to be under its domi- 
nion. Vileness is called n& from bb[ (cogn. bta) to be 
supple and lax, narrow, low, weak and worthless. The form 
is passive just as is the Talm. ni^J (from ^! — ^i), and it 

Digitized by 


198 P8ALM XI1L 

is the epithet applied to that which is depreciated, despised, 
and to he despised; here it is the opposite of the disposition 
and conduct of the noble man, snj, Isa. xxxii. 8, — a base- 
ness which is utterly devoid not only of all nobler prin- 
ciples and motives, but also of all nobler feelings and im- 
pulses. The 3 of D13 is not the expression of simultane- 
ousness (as e. g. in Prov. z. 25): immediately it is exalted — 
for then ver. 9 would give expression to a general obser- 
vation, instead of being descriptive — but Q13 is equivalent 
to D~12, only it is intentionally used instead of the latter, 
to express a coincidence that is based upon an intimate re- 
lation of cause and effect, and is not merely accidental. 
The wicked are puffed up on all sides, and encompass the 
better disposed on every side as their enemies. Such is the 
state of things, and it cannot be otherwise at a time when 
men allow meanness to gain the ascendency among and over 
them, as is the case at the present moment. Thus even at 
last the depressing view of the present prevails in the amidst 
of the confession of a more consolatory hope. The present 
is gloomy. But in the central hexastich the future is lighted 
up as a consolation against this gloominess. The Psalm is 
a ring and this central oracle is its jewel. 



2 HOW long, Jahve, wilt Thou forget me, 
How long wilt Thou veil Thy face from mo?l 

3 How long shall I cherish cares in my souX, 
Sorrow in my heart by day ? 1 

How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?l 

4 Look, answer me, Jahve, my God, 

Lighten mine eyes, that I fall not asleep in death, 

5 That mine enemy may not say: "Ihave prevailed against 

That mine oppressors may not rejoice, when I stumble. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIII. 2—3. 199 

G And as for me, in Thy mercy do I trust, 
My heart shall rejoice at Thy salvation; 
I will sing of Jahve, because He hath dealt bountifully 
with me. 

The DlT of the personal cry with which David opens 
Ps. ziii. harmonizes with 012 of the general lament which 
he introduces into Ps. xii.; and for this reason the collector 
has coupled these two Psalms together. Hitzig assigns Ps. 
ziii. to the time when Saul posted watchers to hunt David 
from place to place, and when, having been long and unceas- 
inglypersecuted,David dared to cherish a hope of escaping 
death only by indefatigable vigilance and endurance. Per- 
haps this view is correct. The Psalm consists of three 
strophes, or if it be preferred, three groups of decreasing 
magnitude. A long deep sigh is followed, as from a relieved 
breast, by an already much more gentle and half calm 
prayer; and this again by the believing joy which anticipates 
the certainty of being answered. This song as it were casts 
up constantly lessening waves, until it becomes still as the 
sea when smooth as a mirror, and the only motion discern- 
ible at last is that of the joyous ripple of calm repose. 

Vers. 2 — 3. The complicated question: till when, how 
long ... for ever (as in lxxiv. 10, lxxiz. 5, lxxxix. 47), is the 
expression of a complicated condition of soul, in which, as 
Luther briefly and forcibly describes it, amidst the feeling of 
anguish under divine wrath "hope itself despairs and despair 
nevertheless begins to hope". The self-contradiction of the 
question is to be explained by the conflict which is going 
on within between the flesh and the spirit. The dejected 
heart thinks: God has forgotten me for ever. But the spirit, 
which thrusts away this thought, changes it into a question 
which sets upon it the mark of a mere appearance not a 
reality: how long shall it seem as though Thou forgettest 
me for ever? It is in the nature of the divine wrath, that 
the feeling of it is always accompanied by an impression 
that it will last for ever; and consequently it becomes a 
foretaste of hell itself. But faith holds fast the love that 

Digitized by 


200 PSALM XI1L 4—5. 

is behind the wrath; it sees in the display of anger only a 
self- masking of the loving countenance of the God of love, 
and longs for the time when this loving countenance shall 
be again unveiled to it. Thrice does David send forth this 
cry of faith out of the inmost depths of his spirit. To place 
or set up contrivances, plans, or proposals in his soul, viz. 
as to the means by which he may be able to escape from 
this painful condition, is equivalent to, to make the soul 
the place of such thoughts, or the place where such thoughts 
are fabricated (cf. Prov. xxvi. 24). One such MSg chases the 
other in his soul, because he recognises the vanity of one 
after another as soon us they spring up. With respect to 
the COV which follows, we must think of these cares as tak- 
ing possession of his soul in the night time; for the night 
leaves a man alone with his affliction and makes it doubly 
felt by him. It cannot be proved from Ezek. zzx. 16 (cf. 
Zeph. ii. 4 OOnSCi) , that DDV like DV (Jer. vii. 25, short for 
CV DV) may mean "daily" (Ew. § 313, a), uov does not mean 
this here, but is the antithesis to rhh which is to be supplied 
in thought in ver. 3a. By night he proposes plan after plan, 
each one as worthless as the other; and by day, or all the 
day through, when he sees his distress with open eyes, sor- 
row (|13j) is in his heart, as it were, as the feeling the night 
leaves behind it and as the direct reflex of his helpless and 
hopeless condition. He is persecuted, and his foe is in the 
ascendant. CD") is both to be exalted and to rise, raise one's 
self, i. e. to rise to position and arrogantly to assume dignity 
to one's self (sich brusten). The strophe closes with 'ad~anm 
which is used for the fourth time. 

Vers. 4 — 5. In contrast to God's seeming to have for- 
gotten him and to wish neither to see nor know anything 
of his need, he prays: nff>3Tl (cf. Isa. lxiii. 15). In contrast 
to his being in perplexity what course to take and unable 
to help himself, he prays: ">})%, answer me, who cry for help, 
viz. by the fulfilment of my prayer as a real, actual answer. 
In contrast to the triumphing of his foe: yy rn'MT, in order 
that the triumph of his enemy may not be made complete 
by his dying. To lighten the eyes that are dimmed with 
sorrow and ready to break, is equivalent to, to impart 
new life (Ezra ix. 8), which is reflected in the fresh clear 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIII. 4-6. 201 

brightness of the eye (1 Sam. xiv. 27, 29). The lightening 
light, to which "wn points, is the light of love beaming 
from the divine countenance, xzxi. 17. Light, love, and life 
are closely allied notions in the Scriptures. He, upon whom 
God looks down in love, continues in life, new powers of 
life are imparted to him, it is not his lot to sleep the death, 
t. e. the sleep of death, Jer. li. 39, 57, cf. Fs. lxxvi. 6. rn»n 
is the accusative of effect or sequence: to sleep so that the 
sleep becomes death (LXX. el; ddvcrtov), Ew. § 281, e. Such 
is the light of life for which he prays, in order that his foe 
may not be able at last to say VP^D] (with accusative object, 
as in Jer. zzzviii. 5) — )b »flijSj, cxxix. 2, Gen. xzzii. 26, 
I am able for him, a match for him, I am superior to him, 
have gained the mastery over him. '3, on account of the 
future which follows, had better be taken as temporal 
(quum) than as expressing the reason (quod), cf. "hn W03, 
xxxviii. 17. 

Ver. 6. Three lines of joyous anticipation now follow 
the five of lament and four of prayer. By ttto he sets him- 
self in opposition to his foes. The latter desire his death, 
but he trusts in the mercy of God, who will turn and ter- 
minate his affliction, a DISS denotes faith as clinging fast to 
God , just as 3 non denotes it as confidence which hides 
itself in Him. The voluntative bi\ pre -supposes the sure 
realisation of the hope. The perfect in ver. 6 c is to be 
properly understood thus: the celebration follows the fact 
that inspires him to song, ^j; bty to do good to any one, 
as in cxvi. 7, cxix. 17, cf. the radically cognate (yy) TQJ lvii. 
3. With the two iambics gamdl'alcy the song sinks to rest. 
In the storm -tossed soul of the suppliant all has now be- 
come calm. Though it rage without as much now as ever — 
peace reigns in the depth of his heart. 


1 THE fool hath said in his heart: "There is no God»; 
Corrupt, abominable are their doings, 
There is none that doeth good. 

Digitized by 



2 Jahve looketh down from heaven upon the children of 

To see if there be any that hare understanding, 
If any that seek after God. 

3 They are all fallen away, altogether they are corrupt, 
There is none that doeth good, 

Not even one. 

4 "Are they so utterly devoid of understanding, all the 

workers of iniquity, 
Who eating up my people, eat up bread, 

They call not on Jahve?" 

5 Then were they in great fear, 

For God is in the righteous generation. 

6 Would ye bring to shame the counsel of the afflicted, 
For Jahve is indeed his refuge 1 

7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of ZionI 
When Jahve turneth the captivity of His people, 
Jacob shall rejoice, Israel shall be glad. 

Just as th6 general lamentation of Ps. zii. assumes a 
personal character in Ps. xiii., so in Ps. xiv. it becomes 
again general; and the personal desire '2b^tP, xiii. 6, so full 
of hope, corresponds to 3pjn ^P, which is extended to the 
whole people of God in xiv. 7. Moreover, Ps. xiv., as being 
a gloomy picture of the times in which the dawn of the di- 
vine day is discernible in the background, is more closely 
allied to Ps. xii. than to Ps. xiii. , although this latter is 
not inserted between them without some recognised reason. 
In the reprobation of the moral and religious character of 
the men of the age, which Ps. xiv. has in common with Ps. 
xii., we at once have a confirmation of the nn^. But xiv. 7 
does not necessitate our coming down to the time of the 

In Ps. liii. we find this Psalm which is Jehovic, occur* 
ring again as Elohimic. The position of Ps. xiv. in the 
primary collection favours the presumption, that it is the 
earlier and more original composition. And since this 
presumption will bear the test of a critical comparison of 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIV. I. 203 

the two Psalms, we may leave the treatment of Ps. liii. to 
its proper place, without bringing it forward here. It is not 
as though Ps. sir. were intact. It is marked out as seven 
three-line verses, but vers. 5 and 6, which ought to be the 
fifth and sixth three lines, are only two; and the original 
form appears to be destroyed by some deficiency. The diffi- 
culty is got over in Ps. liii., by making the two two-line 
verses into one three -line verse, so that it consists only of 
six three-line verses. And in that Psalm the announcement 
of judgment is applied to foreign enemies, a circumstance 
which has influenced some critics and led them astray in the 
interpretation of Ps. xiv. 

Ver. 1. The perfect icn, as in i. 1, x. 3, is the so-called 
abstract present (Ges. § 126, 3), expressing a fact of uni- 
versal experience, inferred from a number of single instan- 
ces. The Old Testament language is unusually rich in epithets 
for the unwise. The simple, 'FIB, and the silly, ^D2, for the 
lowest branches of this scale; the fool, Sin , and the mad- 
man, ^in, the uppermost. In the middle comes the notion 
of the simpleton or maniac, b%3, — a word from the verbal 
stem bn which, according as that which forms the centre 
of the group of consonants lies either in 3J (Genesis S. 636), 
or in ^3 (comp. b2K, Sn, bvtt, bop), signifies either to be 
extended, to relax, to become frail, to wither, or to be pro- 
minent, eminere, Arab, nabula; so that consequently b2i 
means the relaxed, powerless, expressed in New Testament 
language: itveojia oox fyovra. Thus Isaiah (ch. xxxii. 6) de- 
scribes the biy. "a simpleton speaks simpleness and his heart 
does godless things, to practice tricks and to say foolish 
things against Jahve, to leave the soul of the hungry empty, 
and to refuse drink to the thirsty." Accordingly boi is the 
synonym of yb the scoffer (vid. the definition in Prov. xxi. 24). 
A free spirit of this class is reckoned according to the 
Scriptures among the empty, hollow, and devoid of mind. 
The thought, OVtSk }W , which is the root of the thought 
and action of such a man, is the climax of imbecility. It is 
not merely practical atheism, that is intended by this maxim 
of the bzfi r . The heart according to Scripture language is not 
only the seat of volition, but also of thought. The bl) is 

Digitized by 


204 PSALM XIV. 1—2. 

not content with acting as though there were no God, but 
directly denies that there is a God, i". e. a personal God. The 
psalmist makes this prominent as the very extreme and 
depth of human depravity, that there can be among men 
those who deny the existence of a God. The subject of what 
follows are, then, not these atheists but men in general, 
among whom such characters are to be found: they make 
the mode of action , (their) doings , corrupt , they make it 
abominable. i"Wy, a poetical brevity of expression for 
DmW>g, belongs to both verbs, which have Tarcha and Mercha 
(the two usual conjunctives of Mugrash) in correct texts; 
and is in fact not used as an adverbial accusative (Hengsten- 
berg and others), but as an object, since CVPltfTI is just the 
word that is generally used in this combination with Tlbty 
Zeph. iii. 7 or, what is the same thing, ?|~n Gen. vi. 12; and 
D'jfnn (cf. 1 Kings xxi. 26) is only added to give a super- 
lative intensity to the expression. The negative: "there is 
none that doeth good" is just as unrestricted as in xii. 2. 
But further on the psalmist distinguishes between a in 
pv\)t, which experiences this corruption in the form of perse- 
cution, and the corrupt mass of mankind. He means what 
he says of mankind as xfopoc, in which , at first the few 
rescued by grace from the mass of corruption are lost sight 
of by him, just as in the words of God, Gen. vi. 5, 12. Since 
it is only grace that frees any from the general corruption, 
it may also be said , that men are described just as they 
are by nature; although, be it admitted, it is not hereditary 
sin but actual sin, which springs up from it, and grows apace 
if grace do not interpose, that is here spoken of. 

Ver. 2. The second tristich appeals to the infallible 
decision of God Himself. The verb fppEfil means to look 
forth, by bending one's self forward. It is the proper word 
for looking out of a window, 2 Kings ix. 30 (cf. Kiph. Judges 
v. 28, and frequently), and for God's looking down from 
heaven upon the earth, cii. 20, and frequently; and it is 
cognate and synonymous with irp&'n, xxxiii. 13, 14; cf., 
moreover, Cant. ii. 9. The perf. is used in the sense of the 
perfect only insofar as the divine survey is antecedent to 
its result as given in ver. 3. Just as irvnts'n reminds one of 
the history of the Flood, so does tWtrb of the history of the 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIV. 2— 3. 205 

building of the tower of Babel, Gen. xi. 5, cf. xviii. 21. God's 
judgment rests upon a knowledge of the matter of fact, which 
is represented in such passages after the manner of men. God's 
all-seeing, all-piercing eyes scrutinise the whole human race. 
Is there one who shews discernment in thought and act, one 
to whom fellowship with God is the highest good, and con- 
sequently that after which he strives ? — this is God's ques- 
tion, and He delights in such persons, and certainly none 
such would escape His longing search. On 0'r6N"TK<, t4» 
9e6v, vid. % Ges. § 117. 2. 

Yer. 3. The third tristich bewails the condition in which 
He finds humanity. The universality of corruption is ex* 
pressed in as strong terms as possible, fen they all (lit. the 
totality); *nTV with one another (lit. in its or their unions, 
i.e., unwersi); nriN-DJ fN not a single one who might form 
an exception. ID (probably not 3 prat, but partic, which 
passes at once into the finite verb) signifies to depart, viz. 
from the ways of God, therefore to fall away (ditooraTTj?). 
r6w, as in Job xv. 16, denotes the moral corruptness as a 
becoming sour, putrefaction, and suppuration. Instead of 
"inNTCJ pN, the LXX. translates o&x eotiv Jto? 4v6« (as though 
it were "intny, which is the more familiar form of expression). 
Paul quotes the first three verses of this Psalm (Rom. iii. 
10 — 12) in order to shew how the assertion, that Jews and 
heathen all are included under sin, is in accordance with the 
teaching of Scripture. What the psalmist says, applies pri- 
marily to Israel, his immediate neighbours, but at the same 
time to the heathen, as is self-evident. What is lamented 
is neither the pseudo-Israelitish corruption in particular, 
nor that of the heathen, but the universal corruption of man 
which prevails not less in Israel than in the heathen world. 
The citations of the apostle which follow his quotation of 
the Psalm, from xa<poc ivscpYjiivoc to &ir£vavri -tuiv dcpQaXjifiv 
autfiv were early incorporated in the Psalm in the Koivfj of 
the LXX. They appear as an integral part of it in the Cod. 
Alex.., in the Greco-Latin Psalterium Veronense , and in the 
Syriac Ptalterium Mediolanense. They are also found in Apol- 
I maris' paraphrase of the Psalms as a later interpolation; 
the Cod. Vat. has them in the margin; and the words ouv- 
tpippa xal xaXaurrapi'a h xai; 68oi; etuxwv have found admit- 

Digitized by 


206 PSALM XIV. 3—4. 

tance in the translation, which is more Rabbinical than Old 
Hebrew, BTCTna jn y3S^ jn ^5 even in a Hebrew codex 
(Kennicott 649). Origen rightly excluded this apostolic Mo- 
saic work of Old Testament testimonies from his text of the 
Psalm; and the true representation of the matter is to be 
found in Jerome, in the preface to the xvi. book of his com- 
mentary on Isaiah.* 

Ver. 4. Thus utterly cheerless is the issue of the di- 
vine scrutiny. It ought at least to have been different 
in Israel, the nation of the positive revelation. But even 
there wickedness prevails and makes God's purpose of mercy 
of none effect. The divine outburst of indignation which 
the psalmist hears here, is applicable to the sinners in Israel. 
Also in Isa. iii. 13 — 15 the Judge of the world addresses 
Himself to the heads of Israel in particular. This one feature 
of the Psalm before us is raised to the consistency of a 
special prophetic picture in the Psalm of Asaph, lxxxii. 
That which is here clothed in the form of a question, n6h 
W*V, is reversed into an assertion in ver. 5 of that Psalm. 
It is not to be translated: will they not have to feel (which 
ought to be ijnj); but also not as Hupfeld renders it: have 
they not experienced. "Not to know" is intended to be used 
as absolutely in the signification non sapere, and consequently 
insipientem esse, as it is in lxxxii. 5, lxxiii. 22, xcii. 7, Isa. 
xliv. 18, cf. 9, xlv. 20, and frequently. The perfect is to be 
judged after the analogy of novisse (Ges. § 126, 3), therefore it 
is to be rendered: have they attained to no knowledge, are 
they devoid of all knowledge, and therefore like the brutes, 
yea, according to Isa. i. 2, 3 even worse than the brutes, 
all the workers of iniquity? The two clauses which follow 
are, logically at least, attributive clauses. The subordination 
of orb l^CN to the participle as a circumstantial clause in 
the sense of crib bbN3 is syntactically inadmissible; neither 
can Dl*fr l^DN, with Hupfeld, be understood of a brutish and 
secure passing away of life; for, as Olshausen, rightly obser- 
ves Crib bcN does not signify to feast and carouse, but simply 
to eat, take a meal. Hengstenberg correctly translates it 

* Cf. PlQschke's Monograph on the Milanese Ptallerium Syriacitm, 
1835, p. 28— 3». 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIV. 4—6. 207 

„who eating my people, eat bread", t. e. who think that they 
are not doing anything more sinful, — indeed rather what 
is justifiable, irreproachable and lawful to them, — than 
whan they are eating bread; cf. the further carrying out of 
this thought in Mic. iii. 1 — 3 (especially ver. 3 extr.: "just 
as in the pot and as flesh within the caldron."). Instead of 
WTjJtfb fl Jeremiah says in ch. x. 21 (cf., however, x. 25): 
NS'TJ *6 Trrwn. The meaning is like that in Hos. vii. 7. They 
do not pray as it becomes man who is endowed with mind, 
therefore they are like cattle, and act like beasts of prey. 

Ver. 5. When Jahve thus bursts forth in scorn His 
word, which never fails in its working, smites down these 
brutish men, who are without knowledge and conscience. 
The local demonstrative 0& is used as temporal in this 
passage just as in lxvi, 6, Hos. ii. 17, Zeph. i. 14, Job xxiii. 
7, xxxv. 12, and is joined with the perfect of certainty, as 
in xxxvi. 13, where it has not so much a temporal as a local 
3ense. It does not mean "there = at a future time", as point- 
ing into the indefinite future, but "there •= then", when God 
shall thus speak to them in His anger. Intensity is here 
given to the verb in© by the addition of a substantival object 
of the same root, just as is frequently the case in the more 
elevated style, e. g. Hab. iii. 9; and as is done in other cases 
by the addition of the adverbial infinitive. Then, when God's 
long-suffering changes into wrath, terror at His judgment 
Beizes them and they tremble through and through. This 
judgment of wrath, however, is on the other hand a reve- 
lation of love. Jahve avenges and thus delivers those whom 
He calls 'sy (My people); and who are here called pns ")H 
the generation of the righteous, in opposition to the cor- 
rupted humanity of the time (xii. 8), as being conformed to 
the will of God and held together by a superior spirit to 
the prevailing spirit of the age. They are so called inas- 
much as "itt passes over from the signification generatio to 
that of genu* hominum here and also elsewhere, when it is 
not merely a temporal, but a moral notion; cf. xxiv. 6, 
lxxih. 15, cxii. 2, where it uniformly denotes the whole of 
the children of God who are in bondage in the world and 
longing for deliverance, not Israel collectively in antithesis 
to the Scythians and the heathen in general (Hitzig). 

Digitized by 


208 PSALM XIV. 6-7. 

Ver. 6. The psalmist himself meets the oppressed full 
of joyous confidence, by reason of the self-manifestation of 
God in judgment, of which he is now become so confident 
and which so fills him with comfort. Instead of the sixth 
tristich, which we expected, we have another distich. The 
Hiph. #'271 with a personal object signifies: to put any one to 
shame, i. e. to bring it about that any one must be ashamed, 
e. g. xliv. 8 (cf. liii. 6, where the accusative of the person 
has to be supplied), or absolutely: to act shamefully, as in 
the phrase used in Proverbs, B^'O ]? (a prodigal son). It 
appears only here with a neuter accusative of the object, 
not in the signification to defame (Hitz.) , — a meaning it 
never has (not even in Prov. xiii. 5, where it is blended with 
tf'tcn to make stinking, i. e. a reproach, Gen. xxxiv. 30), — but 
to confound, put to shame =» to frustrate (Hupf.), which is 
at once the most natural meaning in connection with nsg. 
But it is not to be rendered: ye put to shame, because . . ., 
for to what purpose is this statement with this inapplicable 
reason in support of it ? The ful. IB^F) is used with a like 
shade of meaning as in Lev. xix. 17, and the imperative 
elsewhere; and o gives the reason for the tacitly implied 
clause, or if a line is really lost from the strophe, the lost 
clause (cf. Isa. viii. 9 sq.): ye will not accomplish it. DSP 
is whatsoever the pious man, who as such suffers reproach, 
plans to do for the glory of his God, or even in accord- 
ance with the will of his God. All this the children of the 
world , who are in possession of worldly power, seek to 
frustrate; but viewed in the light of the final decision their 
attempt is futile: Jahve is his refuge, or, literally the place 
whither he flees to hide himself and finds a hiding or con- 
cealment C?s, "lyib, iriD, JL, Arabic also ^J<>). fflDPID has 

An orthophonic Dag., which obviates the necessity for the 
reading mono (cf. D%n x. 1 , Ibjjb xxxiv. 1 , -|feN& cv. 22, 
and similar instances). 

Ver. 7. This tristich sounds like a liturgical addition 
belonging to the time of the Exile , unless one is disposed 
to assign the whole Psalm to this period on account of it. 
For elsewhere in a similar connection, as e. g. in Ps. cxxvi., 
Dots' DIIS* means to turn the captivity, or to bring back the 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIV. 7. 209 

captives, aits' has here, — as in cxxvi. 4, Nah. ii. 3 (followed 
by DM) , cf. Ezek xlvii. 7, the Kal being preferred to the 
ffiph. DUS/'n (Jer. xxxii. 44, xxxiii. 11) in favour ot the alli- 
teration with ryots' (from rats' to make any one a prisoner 
of war), — a transitive signification, which Hengstenberg 
(who interprets it: to tarn back, to turn to the captivity, 
of God's merciful visitation), vainly hesitates to admit. But 
Isa. lxvi. 6, for instance, shews that the exiles also never 
looked for redemption anywhere but from Zion. Not as 
though they had thought, that Jahve still dwelt among the 
ruins of His habitation, which indeed on the contrary was 
become a ruin because He had forsaken it (as we read in 
Ezekiel); but the moment of His return to His people is 
also the moment when He entered again upon the occupation 
of His sanctuary, and His sanctuary, again appropriated by 
Jahve even before it was actually reared, is the spot whence 
issues the kindling of the divine judgment on the enemies 
of Israel, as well as the spot whence issues the brightness 
of the reverse side of this judgment, viz. the final deliver- 
ance, hence even during the Exile, Jerusalem is the point 
(the kibla) whither the eye of the praying captive was 
directed, Dan. vi. 11. There would therefore be nothing 
strange if a psalm-writer belonging to the Exile should ex- 
press his longing for deliverance in these words : who gives 
= oh that one would give = oh that the salvation of Israel 
were come out of Zion! But since mats' aits' also signifies 
metaphorically to turn misfortune, as in Job xlii. 10, Ezek. 
xvi. 53 (perhaps also in Ps. lxxxv. 2, cf. ver. 5), inasmuch as 
the idea of riots' has been generalised exactly like the Ger- 
man a Elend n , exile (Old High German elilenti = sojourn in 
another country, banishment, homelessness) , therefore the 
inscribed TT\b cannot be called in question from this quarter. 
Even Hitzig renders: "if Jahve would but turn the misfortune 
of His people", regarding this Psalm as composed by Jeremiah 
during the time the Scythians were in the land. If this render- 
ing is possible, and that it is is undeniable, then we- retain 
the inscription nn^. And we do so the more readily, as Jere- 
miah's supposed authorship rests upon a non- recognition 
of his reproductive character, and the history of the 

VOL. I. H 

Digitized by 


210 PSALM XV. 2— i. 

prophet's times makes no allusion to any incursion by the 

The condition of the true people of God in the time of 
Absolom was really a VPQ& in more than a figurative sense. 
But we require no such comparison with co temporary history, 
since in these closing words we have only the gathering up 
into a brief form of the view which prevails in other parte 
of the Psalm, viz. that the "righteous generation" in the 
midst of the world, and even of the so-called Israel, finds 
itself in a state of oppression, imprisonment, and bondage. 
If God will turn this condition of His people, who are His 
people indeed and of a truth, then shall Jacob rejoice and 
Israel be glad. It is the grateful duty of the redeemed to 
rejoice. — And how could they do otherwise! 



1 JAHVE, who may sojourn in Thy tabernacle, 
Who may dwell on Thy holy mountain? 

2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, 
And speaketh truth in his heart. 

8 That taketh not slander upon his tongue, 
Nor doeth evil to his companion, 
Nor bringeth a reproach upon his neighbour; 

4 That is displeasing in his own eyes, to be despised, 
But those who fear Jahve he honoureth; 
He sweareth to [his own] hurt — he changeth not. 

fi He putteth not out his money to usury, 

And taketh not a bribe against the innocent — 
He that doeth these things shall never be moved. 

The proceeding Psalm distinguished pi~\)t in, a righteous 
generation, from the mass of the universal corruption, and 
elosed with a longing for the salvation out of Zion. Ps. xv. 
answers the question: who belongs to thispns "in. and whom 

Digitized by 


PSALM XV. t— -4, >2\\ 

shall the future salvation avail? Ps. zxiv., composed in 
connection with the removal of the Ark to Zion, is very si- 
milar. The state of mind expressed in this Psalm exactly 
corresponds to the unhypocritical piety and genuine lowliness 
which were manifest in David in their most beauteous light 
on that occasion; cf. ver. 4& with 2 Sam. vi. 19; ver. 4a 
with 2 Sam. vi. 21 sq. The fact, however, that Zion (Moriah) 
is called simply BhpH *in in ver. 1, rather favours the time 
of the Absolomic exile, when David was cut off from the 
sanctuary of his God, whilst it was in the possession of men 
the very opposite of those described in this Psalm (vid. iv. 6). 
Nothing can be maintained with any certainty except that 
the Psalm assumes the elevation of Zion to the special de- 
signation of "the holy mountain" and the removal of the 
Ark to the bllH erected there (2 Sam. vi. 17). Isa. xxxiii. 
13 — 16 is a fine variation of this Psalm. 

Vers. 1 — 2. That which is expanded in the tristichic 
portion of the Psalm, is all contained in this distichic por- 
tion in nuce. The address to God is not merely a favourite 
form (Hupfeld), but the question is really, as its words 
imply, directed to God. The answer, however, is not there- 
fore to be taken as a direct answer from God, as it might 
be in a prophetical connection: the psalmist addresses him- 
self to God in prayer, he as it were reads the heart of God, 
and answers to himself the question just asked, in accor- 
dance with the mind of God. -iti and j:tf which are usually 
distinguished from each other like iropoueiv and xotoixsiv 
in Hellenistic Greek, are alike in meaning in this instance. 
It is not a merely temporary *iu (lxi. 5), but for ever, that 
is intended. The only difference between the two inter- 
changeable notions is this, the one denotes the finding of an 
abiding place of rest starting from the idea of a wander- 
ing life, the other the possession of an abiding place of rest 
starting from the idea of settled family life.* The holy 

* In the Arabic xJUl -L=» is "one under the protection of God, 
dwelling as it were in the fortress of God." vid. Fleischer's Samach- 
schari, S. 1, Anm. 1. 


Digitized by 


212 PSALM XV. 1—3. 

tabernacle and the holy mountain are here thought of in 
their spiritual character as the places of the divine presence 
and of the church of God assembled round the symbol of 
it; and accordingly the sojourning and dwelling there is 
not to be understood literally, but in a spiritual sense. 
This spiritual depth of view, first of all with local limi- 
tations, is also to be found in xxvii. 4, 5, lzi. 5. This is 
present even where the idea of earnestness and regularity in 
attending the sanctuary rises in intensity to that of con- 
stantly dwelling therein, lxv. 5, lxxxiv. 4 — 5; while else- 
where , as in xxiv. 3, the outward materiality of the Old 
Testament is not exceeded. Thus we see the idea of the 
sanctuary at one time contracting itself within the Old 
Testament limits, and at another expanding more in ac- 
cordance with the spirit of the New Testament; since in 
this matter, as in the matter of sacrifice, the spirit of the 
New Testament already shews signs of life, and works power- 
fully through its cosmical veil, without that veil being as 
yet rent. The answer to the question, so like the spirit of 
the New Testament in its intention, is also itself no less 
New Testament in its character: Not every one who saith 
Lord, Lord, but they who do the will of God, shall enjoy 
the rights of friendship with Him. But His will concerns 
the very substance of the Law, viz. our duties towards all 
men, and the inward state of the heart towards God. 

In the expression D'OFl ?£in (here and inProv. xxviii. 18), 
CWI is either a closer definition of the subject: one walk- 
ing as an upright man, like S?"1 ^D one going about as a 
slanderer, cf. ^?1D "IB'JO Mic. ii. 7 "the upright as one walk- 
ing"; or it is an accusative of the object, as in rtpns ^n 
Isa. xxxiii. 15: one who walks uprightness, i. e. one who 
makes uprightness his way, his mode of action; since DWl 
may mean integrum =*integritas, and this is strongly favoured 
by OOTp OC^S"), which is used interchangeably with it in 
Ps. lxxxiv. 12 (those who walk in uprightness). Instead of 
i"l£~3 ratly we have the poetical form of expression pnsf *>g&. 
The characterising of the outward walk and action is 
followed in ver. 2b hy the characterising of the inward nature: 
speaking truth in his heart, not: with his heart (not merely 

Digitized by 


PSALM XV. 3—5. 213 

with his mouth); for in the phrase 2S2 TON, a is always the 
2?<?/A of the place, not of the instrument — the meaning 
therefore is: it is not falsehood and deceit that he thinks 
and plans inwardly, but truth (Hitz.). We have three char* 
acteristics here : a spotless walk, conduct ordered according 
to God's will, and a truth-loving mode of thought. 

Vers. 3 — 5. The distich which contains the question 
and that containing the general answer are now followed 
by three tristichs, which work the answer out in detail. 
The description is continued in independent clauses, which, 
however, have logically the value of relative clauses. The 
p erff. have the signification of abstract presents, for they 
are the expression of tried qualities, of the habitual mode 
of action, of that which the man, who is the subject of the 
question, never did and what consequently it is not his 
wont to do. br) means to go about, whether in order to 
spie out (which is it usual meaning), or to gossip and slander 
(here, and the Piel in 2 Sam. xix. 28; cf. b^T), b^Ti). Instead 
tii&63 we have UE>H>JJ (with Dag. in the second \ in order 
that it may be read with emphasis and not slurred over*), 
because a word lies upon the tongue ere it is uttered, the 
speaker brings it up as it were from within on to his tongue 
or lips, xvi. 4, 1. 16, Ezek. xxxvi. 3. The assonance of 
Hjn Vljnb i8 well conceived. To do evil to him who is bound 
to us by the ties of kindred and friendship, is a sin which 
will bring its own punishment. 311J? is also the parallel 
word to jn in Exod. xxxii. 27. Both are here intended to 
refer not merely to persons of the same nation ; for whatever 
is sinful in itself and under any circumstances whatever, is 
also sinful in relation to every man according to the mo- 
rality of the Old Testament. The assertion of Hup f eld and 
others that Nfco in conjunction with nsin means efferre = 
effari t is opposed by its combination with b% and its use 
elsewhere in the phrase DBin WW "to bear reproach" (lxix. 8). 
It means (since Nfco is just as much tollere as ferre) to bring 
reproach on any one, or load any one with reproach. Ro- 

* vid. the role foi this orthophonic Dag. in the Luther. Zeilschrift, 
1863, 8. 413. 

Digitized by 


214 PSALM XV. 3—4. 

proach is a burden which is more easily put on than cast 
off; audacter calumniare, semper aliquid heeret. 

In ver. 4a the interpretation "he is little in his own 
eyes, despised,'* of which Hupfeld, rejecting it, says that Hitzig 
has picked it up out of the dust, is to he retained. Even the 
Targ., Saad., Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, Urbino (in his Grammar, 
*"PD ^i"IN) take VJ'JC nOJ together, even though explaining 
it differently, and it is accordingly accented by Baer 
DND3M*J*J""|! nj.23 (Mahpach, Asia Legarme, Bebia magnum).* 
God exalts him who is Ytfjn "jt2f">, 1 Sam. xr. 17. David, 
when he brought up the ark of his God, could not sufficiently 
degrade himself (^>j3i), and appeared VJJJ3 btvf, 2 Sam. vi. 22. 
This lowliness, which David also confesses in Ps. cxxxi., is 
noted here and throughout the whole of the Old Testament, 
e. g., Isa. lvii. 15, as a condition of being well-pleasing before 
God; just as it is in reality the chief of all virtues. On the 
other hand, it is mostly translated either, according to 
the usual accentuation, with which the Beth of *wjn is 
dageshed: the reprobate is despised in his eyes (Rashi, 
Hupf.), or in accordance with the above accentuation: 
despised in his eyes is the reprobate (Maurer, Hengst., 
Olsh., Luzzatto) ; but this would say but little, and be badly 
expressed. For the placing together of two participles 
without an article, and moreover of similar meaning, 
with the design of the one being taken as subject and the 
other as predicate, is to be repudiated simply on the 
ground of style; and the difference among expositors shews 
how equivocal the expression is. 

On the other hand, when we translate it: "despicable is 
he in his own eyes, worthy to be despised" (Ges. § 134, 1), 
we can appeal to xiv. 1, where irvn#Tl is intensified just in 
the same way by "G^nn, as iljDJ is here by DNC3; cf. also 
Gen. xxx. 31, Job xxxi. 23, Isa. xliii. 4. The antithesis of 

* The usual accentuation DNDJ W'jb I DpJ forcibly separates 
VJ'JQ from nnj to which according to ita position it belongs. And 
Heidenheim's accentuation cV<Oi TO'ID HT33 is to be rejected on ac- 
centuological grounds, because of two like distinctives the second has 
always a less distinctive value than the first. We are consequently 
only left to the one given above. The MSS. vary. 

Digitized by 


PS ALU XV. 4—5. 215 

ver. 4b to ver. 4a is also thus fully met: he himself seems 
to himself unworthy of any respect, whereas he constantly 
shews respect to others; and the standard hy which he 
judges is the fear of God. His own fear of Jahve is manifest 
from the self-denying strictness with which he performs 
his vows. This sense of jry$ JJ3$ is entirely misapprehended 
when it is rendered: he swears to his neighbour (jn — JTl), 
which ought to be V<y~)b, or: he swears to the wicked (and 
keeps to what he has thus solemnly promised), which ought 
to be ]}-)b; for to what purpose would be the omission of 
the elision of the article, which is extremely rarely (xxxvi. 6) 
not attended to in the classic style of the period before the 
Exile? The words have reference to Lev. t. 4: if any one 
swear, thoughtlessly pronouncing 213 - r6 1N jnn^» to do evil 
or to do good, etc. The subject spoken of is oaths which are 
forgotten , and the forgetting of which must be atoned for 
by an asham, whether the nature of the oath be something 
unpleasant and injurious, or agreeable and profitable, to 
the person making the tow. The retrospective reference of 
JPi"6 to the subject is self-evident; for to injure another is 
indeed a sin , the vowing and performance of which, not its 
Omission, would require to be expiated. On jnnb — jjv^ 
vid. Ges. § 67, rem. 6. The hypothetical antecedent (cf. 
e. g., 2 Kings v. 13) is followed by "w t6l as an apodosis. 
The verb *von is native to the law of vows, which, if any 
one has vowed an animal in sacrifice , forbids both chan- 
ging it for its money value (^/OD) and exchanging it for 
another, be it 11t02 j)"3"1« JH3 2it£ Lev. xxvii. 10, 33. The 
psalmist of course does not use these words in the technical 
sense in which they are used in the Law. Swearing includes 
making a vow, and "yq\ tih disavows not merely any ex- 
changing of that which was solemnly promised, but also 
any alteration of that which was sworn : he does not misuse 
the name of God in anywise, xvfx 

In ver. 5a the psalmist also has a passage of the Tora 
before his mind, viz. Lev. xxv. 37, cf. Exod. xxii. 24, Deut. 
xxiii. 20, Ezek. xviii. 8. TJBtsa jnj signifies to give a thing 
away in order to take usury (r]Bf3 from "#3 to bite, 84xveiv) 
for it. The receiver or demander of interest is "sj'Wto, the 

Digitized by 



one who pays interest "itW, the interest itself T]t$. The trait 
of character described in ver. 5b also recalls the language 
of the Mosaic law: ngb tb im' t the prohibition Exod. 
xxiii. 8, Dent. xvi. 19; and 'pHjJf, the curse Deut. xxvii. 25: 
on account of the innocent, i. e. against him, to condemn 
him. Whether it be as a loan or as a gift, he gives without 
conditions, and if he attain the dignity of a judge he is proof 
against bribery, especially with reference to the destruction 
of the innocent. And now instead of closing in conformity 
with the description of character already given: such a man 
shall dwell, etc., the concluding sentence takes a different 
form, moulded in accordance with the spiritual meaning of 
the opening question: he who doeth these things shall never 
be moved (pw \fut. Niph.), he stands fast, being upheld by 
Jahve, hidden in His fellowship; nothing from without, no 
misfortune, can cause his overthrow. 



1 PRESERVE me, God, for in Thee do I hide myself 

2 I say unto Jahve: "Thou art my Lord, 
Besides Thee I have no good", 

3 And to the saints who are in the earth: 

"These are the excellent, in whom is all my delight". 

4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied who have bartered 

for an idol — 
I will not pour out their drink-offerings of blood, 
Nor take their names upon my lips. 

5 Jahve is the portion of my land and of my cup, 
Thou makest my lot illustrious. 

6 The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places, 
Yea, the heritage appears fair to me. 

7 I will bless Jahve, who hath given me counsel; 
In the night-seasons also my reins instruct me. 

Digitized by 



8 1 have set Jahve always before me, 

For lie is at my right hand — therefore I shall not 
be moved. 

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory exulteth, 
My flesh also shall dwell free of care. 

10 For Thon wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, 
Nor give up Thy Holy One to see the pit; 

11 Thou wilt make me know the path of life — 
Fulness of joy is in Thy countenance, 
Pleasures are in Thy right hand for evermore. 

The preceding Psalm closed with the words Bit? nS; this 
word of promise is repeated in zvi. 8 as an utterance of 
faith in the mouth of David. We are here confronted by a 
pattern of the unchangeable believing confidence of a friend 
of God; for the writer of Ps. xvi. is in danger of death, as 
is to be inferred from the prayer expressed in ver. 1 and 
the expectation in ver. 10. But there is no trace of anything 
like bitter complaint, gloomy conflict, or hard struggle: 
the cry for help is immediately swallowed up by an over- 
powering and blessed consciousness and a bright hope. 
There reigns in the whole Psalm, a settled calm, an inward 
joy, and a joyous confidence, which is certain that every- 
thing that it can desire for the present and for the futuro 
it possesses in its God. 

The Psalm is inscribed "\vb\ and Hitzig also confesses 
that "David may be inferred from its language*. What- 
ever can mark a Psalm as Davidic we find combined in this 
Psalm: thoughts crowding together in compressed language, 
which becomes in ver. 4 bold even to harshness, but then 
becomes clear and moves more rapidly; an antiquated, pe- 
culiar, and highly poetic impress ('}TN, my Lord, DJO, H/TO, 
IBltf, ^'p1n); and a well- devised grouping of the strophes. 
In addition to all these, there are manifold points of contact 
with indisputably genuine Davidic Psalms (comp. e. g., 
ver. 5 with xi. 6; ver. 10 with iv. 4; ver. 11 with xvii. 15), 
and with indisputably ancient portions of the Pentateuch 
(Exod. xxiii. 13, xix. 6, Gen. xlix. 6). Scarcely any other 
Psalm shews so clearly as this, what deep roots psalm-poetry 

Digitized by 



has struck into the Tora, hoth as it regards the matter and 
the language. Concerning the circumstances of its compo- 
sition, vid. on Ps. xxx. 

The superscription in^ EFCC, Ps. xvi. has in common 
with Ps. lvi. — lx. After the analogy of the other super- 
scriptions, it must have a technical meaning. This at once 
militates against Eitzig's explanation, that it is a poem 
hitherto unknown, an dvexSotov, according to the Arahio 
mdktum, hidden, secret, just as also against the meaning 
xet|*T)Xiov, which says nothing further to help us. The LXX. 
translates it on)Xoifpa<pia (el« onjXoifpcKpiav), instead of which 
the Old Latin version has tituli inscriptio (Hesychius ttxXoc* 
itto^tov iitiYpappcc e^ov). That this translation accords with 
the tradition is shewn hy that of the Targum twin ttvbl 
sculptura recta (not erecta as Hupfeld renders it). Both 
versions give the verb the meaning CD3 insculpere, which is 
supported both by a comparison with 2TO, cogn. 3STI, 3SD, and 
by orin imprinter e (sigillum). Moreover, the sin of Israel is 
called crpj in Jer. ii. 22 (cf. xvii. 1) as being a deeply im- 
pressed spot, not to be wiped out. If we now look more 
closely into the Michtam Psalms as a whole, we find they 
have two prevailing features in common. Sometimes signi- 
ficant and remarkable words are introduced by 'RICK, "lOtf'l. 
*i:n, xvi. 2, lviii. 12, lx. 8, cf. Isa. xxxviii. i6, 11 (in 
Hezekiah's psalm, which is inscribed 3P3D ■=• DrCO as it is 
perhaps to be read) ; sometimes words of this character are 
repeated after the manner of a refrain, as in Ps. lvi.: I will 
not fear, what can man do to me! in Ps. lvii.: Be Thou 
exalted, Elohim, above the heavens, Thy glory above all the 
earth! and in Ps.lix.: For Elohim is my high tower, my merciful 
God. Hezekiah's psalm unites this characteristic with the 
other. Accordingly DrOO, like 2iriYpajA|j.a ,* appears to mean 
first of all an inscription and then to be equivalent to an 
inscription-poem or epigram, a poem containing pithy say- 
ings; since in the Psalms of this order some expressive sen- 
tence, after the style of an inscription or a motto on a 

* In modern Jewish poetry OrDD is actually the name for the 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVI. 1—2. 219 

monument, is brought prominently forward, by being either 
specially introduced or repeated as a refrain. 

The strophe-schema is 5. 5. 6. 7. The last strophe, which 
has grown to seven lines, is an expression of joyous hopes 
in the face of death, which extend onward even into eternity. 

Vers. 1 — 3. The Psalm begins with a prayer that is 
based upon faith, the special meaning of which becomes clear 
from ver. 10: May God preserve him (which He is able to 
do as being bvt, the Almighty, able to do all things), who 
has no other refuge in which he has hidden and will hide 
but Him. This short introit is excepted from the parallelism ; 
so far therefore it is monostichic, — a sigh expressing every- 
thing in few words. And the emphatic pronunciation i riDB/ 
tham'reni harmonises with it; for it is to be read thus, just 
as in lxxxvi. 2, cxix. 167 sham'rah (cf. on Isa. xxxviii. 14 
fljJE/j;), according to the express testimony of the Masora.* 

The text of the next two verses (so it appears) needs to 
be improved in two respects. The reading FHON as addressed 
to the soul (Targ.), cf. Lam. iii. 24 sq., is opposed by the 
absence of any mention of the thing addressed. It rests 
upon a misconception of the defective form of writing, FflDN 
(Ges. § 44, rem. 4). Hitzig and Ewald (§ 190, d) suppose 
that in such cases a rejection of the final vowel, which really 
occurs in the language of the people, after the manner of 
the Aramaic (rrot or rPlDN), lies at the bottom of the form. 
And it does really seem as though the frequent occurrence 
of this defective form (njJT — »nj>T cxl. 13, Job xlii. 2, 
n>J3 — YM3 1 Kings viii. 48, nn8TJ — VWPy Ezek. xvi. 59, cf. 
2 Kings xviii. 20, mON now pointed HICK, with Isa. xxxvi. 5) 
has its occasion at least in some such cutting away of the 
i, peculiar to the language of the common people ; although, 

* The Masora observes N"|SD2 peril '3, i. e. twice in the Psalter 
!TiD «7 is in the imperative, the b being displaced by Gaja (Metheg) and 
changed into a, vid. Baer, Torath Emeth p. 22 sq. In spite of this the 
grammarians are not agreed as to the pronunciation of the imperative 
and infinitive forms when so pointed. Luzzatto, like Lonzano, reada it 

Digitized by 


220 PSALM XVI. 1-3. 

if David wrote it so, moN is not intended to be read other- 
wise than it is in xxxi. 15, cxl. 7.* 

First of all David gives expression to his confession of 
Jahve, to whom he submits himself unconditionally, and 
whom he sets above everything else without exception. 
Since the suffix of tf"|N (properly domini met — domine mt, 
Gen. xviii. 3, cf. xix. 2), which has become mostly lost sight 
of in the usage of the language, now and then retains its 
original meaning, as it does indisputably in xxxv. 23, it is 
certainly to be rendered also here: "Thou art my Lord* and 
not "Thou art the Lord". The emphasis lies expressly on 
the "my". It is the unreserved and joyous feeling of depen- 
dence (more that of the little child, than of the servant), 
which is expressed in this first confession. For, as the second 
clause of the confession says : Jahve, who is his Lord, is also 
his benefactor, yea even his highest good. The preposition 
b]}_ frequently introduces that which extends beyond some- 
thing else, Gen. xlviii. 22 (cf. lxxxix. 8, xcv. 3), and to this 
passage may be added Gen. xxxi. 50, xxxii. 12, Exod. 
xxxv. 22, Num. xxxi. 8, Deut. xix. 9, xxii. 6, the one thing 
being above, or co-ordinate with, the other. So also here: 
"my good, i. e. whatever makes me truly happy, is not above 
Thee", i. e. in addition to Thee, beside Thee; according to 
the sense it is equivalent to out of Thee or without Thee 
(as the Targ., Symm., and Jerome render it), Thou alone, 
without exception, art my good. In connection with this 
rendering of the by, the bs (poetic, and contracted from 
^>3), which is unknown to the literature before David's 
time, presents no difficulty. As in Prov. xxiii. 7 it is short 
for rvrrr^Q. Hengstenberg remarks, "Just as Thou art the 
Lord! is the response of the soul to the words lam the Lord 
thy God (Exod. xx. 2), so Thou only art my salvation! is the 
response to Thou shalt have no other gods beside Me 
OJS - ^)". The psalmist knows no fountain of true hap- 

* Pinsker's view (Einleit. S. 100—102), who considers P?£& to 
have sprung from tVWB as the primary form of the 1. pert, sing, from 
which then came VwB and later still in'?Jf© , is untenable according 
to the history of the' language. "' 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVI. 1-3. 221 

piness but Jahve, in Him he possesses all, his treasure is 
in Heaven. 

Such is his confession to Jahve. But he also has those 
on earth to whom he makes confession. Transposing the ) 
we read: 

While Diestel's alteration: "to the saints, who are in his 
land, he makes himself glorious, and all his delight is in 
them," is altogether strange to this verse: the above transfer 
of the Wan* suffices to remove its difficulties, and that in 
a way quite in accordance with the connection. Now it is 
clear, that oufnpb, as has been supposed by some, is the 
dative governed by 'P^CNt, the influence of which is thus 
carried forward; it is clear what is meant by the addition 
yttQ ItSfc, which distinguishes the object of his affection here 
below from the One above, who is incomparably the highest; 
it is clear, as to what n»H defines, whereas otherwise this 
purely descriptive relative clause nan *fHN3 "IB'n (which von 
Ortenberg transposes into Hens iTX"|N *^N) appears to be 
useless and surprises one both on account of its redundancy 
(since DQD is superfluous, cf. e. g. 2 Sam. vii. 9, ii. 18) and 
on account of its arrangement of the words (an arrangement, 
which is usual in connection with a negative construction, 
Deut. zz. 15, 2 Chron. viii. 7, cf. Gen. ix. 3, Ezek. zii. 10); 
it is clear, in what sense '"i>*in alternates with Qitfnp, since 
it is not those who are accounted by the world as onnx on 
account of their worldly power and possessions (cxxxvi. 18, 
2 Chron. xxiii. 20), but the holy, prized by him as being also 
glorious, partakers of higher glory and worthy of higher 
honour; and moreover, this corrected arrangement of the 
verse harmonises with the Michtam character of the Psalm. 
The thought thus obtained, is the thought one expected 
(love to God and love to His saints), and the one which one 
is also obliged to wring from the text as we have it, either 
by translating with De Welte, Maurer, Dietrich and others: 

* Approved by Kamphausen and by tbe critic in the liter. Blalt 
of tbe Allgem. Kirchen-Zeiluna 1864 S. 107. 

Digitized by 


222 PSALM XVI. 1—3. 

"the saints who are in the land, they are the excellent in 
whom I have all my delight", — a Ware apodoseot, with 
which one could only he satisfied if it were r &rn (cf. 2 Sam. 
xt. 34) — or: "the saints who are in the land and the 
glorious — all my delight is in them". By both these inter* 
pretations, b would be the exponent of the notn. absol. which 
is elsewhere detached and placed at the beginning of a sen- 
tence, and this b of reference (Ew. § 310, a) is really com- 
mon to every style (Num. xviii. 8, Isa. xxxii. 1, Eccl. ix. 4); 
whereas the b understood of the fellowship in which he 
stands when thus making confession to Jahve: associating 
myself with the saints (Hengst.), with (von Lengerke), among 
the saints (Hupf., Thenius), would he a preposition most 
liable to be misapprehended, and makes ver. 3 a cumber- 
some appendage of ver. 2. But if b be taken as the Lamed 
of reference then the elliptical construct vyttp, to which 
pNH ought to be supplied, remains a stumbling-block not 
to be easily set aside. For such an isolation of the connect- 
ing form from its genitive cannot be shown to be syntactic- 
ally possible in Hebrew (vid. on 2 Kings ix. 17, Thenius, 
and Keil) ; nor are we compelled to suppose in this instance 
what cannot be proved elsewhere, since OS^XBTr^D is, 
without any harshness, subordinate to vynv>\ as a genitival 
notion (Ges. § 116, 3). And still in connection with the 
reading 'Tito, both the formation of the sentence which, 
beginning with b, leads one to expect an apodosis, and the 
relation of ver. 3 to ver. 2, according to which the central 
point of the declaration must lie just within 03""»XDrrfe» 
are opposed to this rendering of the words ~bo i"in» 

Thus, therefore, we come back to the above easy im- 
provement of the text, outfrij? are those in whom the will 
of Jahve concerning Israel, that it should be a holy nation 
(Exod. xix. 6, Deut. vii. 6), has been fulfilled, viz. the living 
members of the ecclesia sanctorum in this world (for there 
is also one in the other world, lxxxix. 6). Glory, 84?a, is 
the outward manifestation of holiness. It is ordained of 
God for the sanctified (cf. Rom. viii. 30), whose moral no- 
bility is now for the present veiled under the menial form 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVI. 4—6. 223 

of the 'jy; and in the eyes of David they already possess it. 
His spiritual vision pierces through the outward form of 
the servant. His verdict is like the verdict of God, who is 
his all in all. The saints, and they only, are the excellent 
to him. His whole delight is centred in them, all his respect 
and affection is given to them. The congregation of the 
saints is his Chephzibah, Isa. lxii. 4 (cf. 2 Kings xxi. 1). 

Vers. 4 — 5. As he loves the saints so, on the other hand, he 
abhors the apostates and their idols. nilO *irw is to he 
construed as an appositional relative clause to the preced- 
ing: multi sunt cruciatus (cf. xxxii. 10) eorum, eorum scil. qui 
alium permutant. The expression would flow on more 
smoothly if it were i3~i* : they multiply, or increase their 
pains, who . . . , so that nriD ")!"!*< would be the subject, for 
instance like 13HK 'n (he whom Jahve loves), Isa. xlviii. 14. 
This ver. 4 forms a perfect antithesis to ver. 3. In David's 
eyes the saints are already the glorified, in whom his delight 
centres; while, as he knows, a future full of anguish is in 
store for the idolatrous, and their worship, yea, their very 
names are an abomination to him. The suffixes of DHODi 
and □rilciB' might be referred to the idols according to Exod. 
xxiii. 13, Hos. ii. 19, if intc be taken collectively as equi- 
valent to OOriN, as in Job viii. 19. But it is more natural 
to assign the same reference to them as to the suffix of 
DniDSS, which does not signify "their idols" (for idols are 
D^XJf), but their torments, pains (from ri3Sj? derived from 
23Jf), cxlvii. 3, Job ix. 28. The thought is similar to 1 Tim. 
vi. 10, ietoTobc xspiineipav d&ovai? rcoixiXai?. "IITNI is a general 
designation of the broadest kind for everything that is not 
God, but which man makes his idol beside God and in op- 
position to God (cf. Isa. xlii. 8, xlviii. 11). liflO cannot 
mean festmant, for in this signification it is only found in 
Piel "gyp, and that once with a local, but not a personal, 
accusative of the direction, Nah. ii. 6. It is therefore to be 
rendered (and the perf. is also better adapted to this mean- 
ing): they have taken in exchange that which is not God 
(inn like "TOJPI, cvi. 20, Jer. ii. 11). Perhaps (cf. the phrase 
rinN PUT) the secondary meaning of wooing and fondling is 
connected with it; for liTD is the proper word for acquiring 

Digitized by 


224 PSALM XVL 4—5. 

a wife by paying down the price asked by her father, Exod. 
xxii. 15. With such persons, who may seem to be Onng 
in the eyea of the world, but for whom a future full of an- 
guish is in store, David has nothing whatever to do: he will 
not pour out drink-offerings as they pour them out. orTCDJ 
has the Dag. lene, as it always has. They are not called oio 
as actually consisting of blood, or of wine actually mingled 
with blood; but consisting as it were of blood, because they 
are offered with blood-stained hands and blood-guilty con- 
sciences. )D is the min of derivation; in this instance (as in 
Amos iv. 5, cf. Hos. vi. 8) of the material, and is used in 
other instances also for similar virtually adjectival expres- 
sions, x. 18, xvii. 14, lxxx. 14. 

In ver. 4 c the expression of his abhorrence attains its 
climax : even their names, i. e. the names of their false gods, 
which they call out, he shuns taking upon his lips, just as 
is actually forbidden in the Tora, Exod. xxiii. 13 (cf. Const. 
Apost. V. 10 ei&coXov (tv^jiovsusiv iv6|Acrca Saijiovud). He takes 
the side of Jahve. Whatever he may wish for, he possesses 
in Him ; and whatever he has in Him , is always secured to 
him by Him. 'j^n does not here mean food (Bottch.), for in this 
sense pbn (Lev. vi. 10) and HjD (1 Sam. i. 4) are identical; 
and parallel passages like cxlii. 6 shew what ipbn means when 
applied to Jahve. According to xi. 6, 'DO is also a genitive 
just like ipbn; pbn rup is the share of landed property as- 
signed to any one; DO run the share of the cup according 
to paternal apportionment. The tribe of Levi received no 
territory in the distribution of the country, from which 
they might have maintained themselves; Jahve was to be 
their pbr\, Num. xviii. 20, and the gifts consecrated to Jahve 
were to be their food, Deut. x. 9, xviii. 1 sq. But never- 
theless all Israel is (katXetov Updxsojio, Exod. xix. 6, towards 
which even O'BTtp and O'YIK in ver. 3 pointed; so that* 
therefore, the very thing represented by the tribe of 
Levi in outward relation to the nation, holds good, in all 
its deep spiritual significance, of every believer. It is not 
anything earthly, visible, created, and material, that is 
allotted to him as his possession and his sustenance, but 
Jahve and Him only; but in Him is perfect contentment. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVI. 4-5. 225 

In ver. Oft, TpOW, as it stands, looks at first sight as though 
it were the Hiph. of a verb "-jdj 0]ci). But such a Terb is 
not to be found anywhere else, we must therefore seek some 
other explanation of the word. It cannot be a substantive 
in the signification of possession (Maurer, Ewald), for such a 
substantival form does not exist. It might more readily 
be explained as a participle — *!JD1F1, somewhat like *)'D1% 
Isa. xxix. 4, xxxviii. 5, Eccl. i. 18, — r)Dl\ — a compari- 
son which has been made by Aben-Ezra (Sefath Jeiher No. 
421) and Eimchi (Michlol 11a), — a form of the participle 
to which, in writing at least, 301D, 2 Kings viii. 21, forms 
a transition; but there is good reason to doubt the exis- 
tence of such a form. Had the poet intended to use the 
part, of "pn, it is more probable he would have written 
^>~)U 'CCIH DDK, just as the LXX. translators might hare 
had it before them, taking the Chirek compaginis as a suffix: 
oo el 4 ditoxaOiotcov -rijv xXTjpovojuav (too spot (Bottcher). For 
the conjecture of Olshausen and Thenius, F)>pin in the sense: 
"thou art continually my portion" halts both in thought and 
expression. Hitzig's conjecture *pa*iFl "thou, thy Tummim 
are my lot", is more successful and tempting. But the fact 
that the D'tsn are never found (not even in Deut. xxxiii. 8) 
without the qvjw, is against it. Nevertheless, we should 
prefer this conjecture to the other explanations, if the word 
would not admit of being explained as Hiph. from ?$& (T]Ol), 
which is the most natural explanation. Schultens has 
compared the Arabic tvamika, to be broad, from which there 

is a Hiphil form JJo J, to make broad, in Syro-Arabic, that 

is in use even in the present day among the common 
people.* And since we must at any rate come down to 
the supposition of something unusual about this "pom, it is 
surely not too bold to regard it as a Snag feYpajij*.: Thou 

* The Arabic Lexicographers are only acquainted with a noon 
wamka, breadth {amplitude/), but not with the verb. And even the noun 
does not belong to the universal and classical language. But at the 

present day viJLelfl (pronounced mtmk), breadth, and teamik are in com- 
mon use in Damascus; and it is only the verb that is shunned in the 
better conversational style. — Wetzstein. 

vol.. i. 15 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 


220 PSALM XVI. 6— s. 

makest broad my lot, i. e. ensurest for me a spacious habi- 
tation, a broad place, as the possession that falleth to 
me,* — a thought, that is expanded in ver. 6. 

Vers. 6 — 8. The measuring lines (D'baq) are cast 
(Mic. ii. 5) and fall to any one just where and as far as bis 
property is assigned to him; so that b2T\ bp\ (Josh. xvii. 
5) is also said of the falling to any one of bis allotted por- 
tion of land. C'Djp (according to the Masora defective as 
also in ver. 11 niDjU) is a pluralet., the plural that is used 
to denote a unity in the circumstances, and a similarity in 
the relations of time and space, Ges. § 108, 2, a; and it 
signifies both pleasant circumstances, Job xxxvi. 11, and, 
as here, a pleasant locality, Lat. amcena (to which nioyj in 
ver. 11, more strictly corresponds). The lines have fallen 
to him in a charming district, viz. in the pleasurable fellow- 
ship of God, this most blessed domain of love has become 
his paradisaic possession. With t]K he rises from the fact 
to the perfect contentment which it secures to him: such a 
heritage seems to him to be fair, he finds a source of inward 
pleasure and satisfaction in it. nSrp — according to Ew. 
§ 173, d, lengthened from the construct form nbnJ (like 
!U?U lxi. 1); according to Hupfeld, springing from ^rPTD (by 
the same apocope that is so common in Syriac, perhaps like 
RICK ver. 1 from VT)CN) just like m»T Exod. xv. 2 — is 

:i-t • I- T ' ■» T I • 

rather, since in the former view there is no law for the 
change of vowel and such an application of the form as we 
find in lx. 13 (cviii. 13) is opposed to the latter, a stunted 

* It is scarcely possible for two words to be more nearly identical 
than bViA and xXljpot. The latter, usually derived from xkdua (a piece 
broken off), is derived from xiXeafloi (a determining of the divine will) 
in DSderlein's Homer. Glottar, iii. 124. But perhaps it is one word 
with TtU. Moreover xtojpot signifies 1) the sign by which anything 
whatever falls to one among a number of persons in conformity with 
the decision of chance or of the divine will, a pebble, potsherd, or the 
like. So in Homer, //. iii. 316, vii. 175, zxiii. 351, Od. z. 206, where 
easting lots is described with the expression xX1)poc. 2) The object 
that falls to any one by lot, patrimonium, e. g. Od. xiv. 64, //. xv. 49S, 
olxo: xri x?J)po«, especially of lands. 3) an inheritance without the 
notion of the lot, and even without any thought of inheriting, abso- 
lutely: a settled, landed property. It is the regular expression for the 
allotments of land assigned to colonists (xXtjpoOxoi). 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVI. 8-9. 227 

form of Tirbra i the heritage — such a heritage pleases me, lit. 
seems fair to me ("lEB', cognate root isp , "IBS, cognate in mean- 
ing "ifco, j»ij, to rub, polish, make shining, intr. lets' to be 
shining, beautiful), ty of beauty known and felt by him (cf. 
Esth. iii. 9 with 1 Sam. xxv. 36 vby 3lt0, and the later way of 
expressing it Dan. iii. 32). But since the giver and the gift 
are one and the same, the joy he has in the inheritance be- 
comes of itself a constant thanksgiving to and blessing of the 
Giver, that He (iBW quippe qui) has counselled him (Ixxiii. 
24) to chose the one thing needful, the good part. Even in 
the night-seasons his heart keeps watch, even then his reins 
admonish him (iD\, here of moral incitement, as in Isa. viii. 
11, to warn). The reins are conceived of as the seat of the 
blessed feeling that Jahve is his possession (vid. Psychol. 
S. 268; tr. p. 316). He is impelled from within to offer 
heut-felt thanks to his merciful and faithful God. He has 
Jahve always before him, Jahve is the point towards which 
he constantly directs his undiverted gaze; and it is easy for 
him to have Him thus ever present, for He is XpO'D (sup- 
ply KID, as in xxii. 29, lv. 20, cxii. 4), at my right hand (i. e. 
where my right hand begins, close beside me), so that he 
has no need to draw upon his power of imagination. The 
words tai©N"ij3, without any conjunction, express the natu- 
ral effect of this, both in consciousness and in reality : he 
will not and cannot totter, he will not yield and be over- 

Vers. 9 — 11. Thus then, as this concluding strophe, 
as it were like seven rays of light, affirms, he has the most 
blessed prospect before him, without any need to fear death. 
Because Jahve is thus near at hand to help him, his heart 
becomes joyful (n?&) and his glory, i. e. his soul (vid. on 
vii. 6) rejoices, the joy breaking forth in rejoicing, as the 
fut. consec. affirms. There is no passage of Scripture that 
so closely resembles this as 1 Thess. v. 23. ab is itveupa 
(vouc), 1132, <l»ox^ (vid. Psychol. S. 98; tr. p. 119), "itsa (accor- 
ding to its primary meaning, attrectabile, that which is frail), 
oa>|*a. The &|i£[MtTa>« T7)pi)6i}vai which the apostle in the 
above passage desires for his readers in respect of all three 
parts of their being, David here expresses as a confident 
expectation; for fjn implies that he also hopes for his body 


Digitized by 


228 PSALM XVI. 9—10. 

that which he hopes for his spirit-life centred in the heart, 
and for his sonl raised to dignity both by the work of crea- 
tion and of grace. He looks death calmly and triumphantly 
in the face, even his flesh shall dwell or lie securely, viz. 
without being seized with trembling at its approaching 
corruption. David's hope rests on this conclusion: it is 
impossible for the man, who, in appropriating faith and 
actual experience, calls God his own, to fall into the hands 
of death. For ver. 10 shews, that what is here thought of 
in connection with ntc? 1 ? pttf, dwelling in safety under the 
divine protection (Deut. xxxiii. 12, 28, cf. Prov. iii. 24), is 
preservation from death. nn# is rendered by the LXX. 
fcia<p6op<£, as though it came from tints' StacpOeipsiv, as per- 
haps it may do in Job xvii. 14. But in vii. 16 the LXX. 
has p60po«, which is the more correct: prop, a sinking in, 
from nitt' to sink, to be sunk, like ITU from pro, nn*1 from 
nil. To leave to the unseen world (stjj prop, to loosen, let 
go) is equivalent to abandoning one to it, so that he be- 
comes its prey. Ver. 10b — where to see the grave (xlix. 
10), equivalent to, to succumb to the state of the grave, i.e. 
death (lxxxix. 49, Lk. ii. 26, John viii. 51) is the opposite 
of "seeing life", i. e. experiencing and enjoying it (Eccl. ix. 
9, John iii. 36), the sense of sight being used as the no- 
blest of the senses to denote the sensus communis, i. e. the 
common sense lying at the basis of all feeling and per* 
ception, and figuratively of all active and passive experience 
{Psychol. S. 234; tr. p. 276) — shews, that what is said 
here is not intended of an abandonment by which, having 
once come under the power of death, there is no coming 
forth again (Bottcher). It is therefore the hope of not 
dying, that is expressed by David in ver. 10. For by fron 
David means himself. According to Norzi, the Spanish 
MSS. have I^DTI with the Masoretic note "if "Vt1' , and the 
LXX., Targ., and Syriac translate, and the Talmud and 
Midrash interpret it, in accordance with this Keri. There 
is no ground for the reading *pTDTj, and it is also opposed 
by the personal form of expression surrounding it»* 

* Most MSS. and the best, which hare no distinction of Keri and 
Chelhlb here, read TVCQ, as also the Biblia Fen. 1521, the Spanish 

Digitized by 


PSALM. XVI. 11. 220 

The positive expression of hope in ver. 11 comes as a 
companion to the negative just expressed: Thou wilt grant 
me to experience (l) ,1 *Tin, is used, as usual, of the presentation 
of a knowledge, which concerns the whole man and not his 
understanding merely) D'jn rnfct, the path of life, i. e. the 
path to life (cf. Pro v. v. 6, ii. 19 with ib. x. 17, Mat. vii. 
14) ; but not so that it is conceived of as at the final goal, 
but as leading slowly and gradually onwards to life; Q*n 
in the most manifold sense, as, e. g., in xxxvi. 10, Deut. 
xxx. 15: life from God, with God, and in God, the living 
God; the opposite of death, as the manifestation of God's 
wrath and banishment from Him. That his body shall not 
die is only the external and visible phase of that which 
David hopes for himself; on its inward, unseen side it is 
a living, inwrought of God in the whole man, which in its 
continuance is a walking in the divine life. The second 
part of ver. 11, which consists of two members, describes 
this life with which he solaces himself. According to the 
accentuation, — which marks D»n with Oletvejored not 
with Rebia magnum or Pazer, — rlnofe' jOfe> is not a second 
object dependent upon 'JJPTln, but the subject of a substan- 
tival clause: a satisfying fulness of joy is ?|»:)5-nK, with Thy 
countenance, i. e. connected with and naturally produced by 
beholding Thy face (n« preposition of fellowship, as in xxi. 
7, cxl. 14); for joy is light, and God's countenance, or doxa, 
is the light of lights. And every kind of pleasurable things, 
fflDJ/3, He holds in His right hand, extending them to His 
saints — a gift which lasts for ever; nso equivalent to 
Tf&lb. ns3, from the primary notion of conspicuous bright- 
ness, is duration extending beyond all else — an expression 
for O^lj^, which David has probably coined, for it appears 
for the first time in the Davidic Psalms. Pleasures are in 
Thy right hand continually — God's right hand is never 
empty, His fulness is inexhaustible. 

The apostolic application of this Psalm (Acts ii. 29 — 
32, xiii. 35 — 37) is based on the considerations that David's 

Polyglott and other older printed copies. Those MSS. which give 
TT?P (without an; Kert), on the other band, scarcely come nnder con- 

Digitized by 


230 PSALM X7I. 

hope of not coming under the power of death was not rea- 
lised in David himself, as is at once clear, to the unlimited 
extent in which it is expressed in the Psalm; hut that it is ful- 
filled in Jesus, who has not been left to Hades and whose flesh 
did not see corruption ; and that consequently the words of the 
Psalm are a prophecy of David concerning Jesus, the Christ, 
who was promised as the heir to his throne, and whom, by 
reason of the promise, he had prophetically before his mind. 
If we look into the Psalm, we see that David , in his mode 
of expression, bases that hope simply upon his relation to 
Jahve, the ever-living One. That it has been granted to 
him in particular, to express this hope which is based upon 
the mystic relation of the TOD to Jahve in such language, 
— a hope which the issue of Jesus' life has sealed by an 
historical fulfilment, — is to be explained from the relation, 
according to the promise, in which David stands to his seed, 
the Christ and Holy One of God, who appeared in the per- 
son of Jesus. David, the anointed of God, looking upon 
himself as in Jahve, the God who has given the promise, 
becomes the prophet of Christ; but this is only indirectly, 
for he speaks of himself, and what he says has also been 
fulfilled in his own person. But this fulfilment is not limited 
to the condition, that he did not succumb to any peril that 
threatened his life so long as the kingship would have 
perished with him, and that, when he died, the kingship 
nevertheless remained (Hofmann); nor, that he was secured 
against all danger of death until he had accomplished his 
life's mission, until he had fulfilled the vocation assigned 
to him in the history of the plan of redemption (Kurtz) — 
the hope which he cherishes for himself personally has found 
a fulfilment which far exceeds this. After his hope has 
found in Christ its full realisation in accordance with the 
history of the plan of redemption, it receives through 
Christ its personal realisation for himself also. For what 
he says, extends on the one hand far beyond himself, and 
therefore refers prophetically to Christ: in decachordo Psal- 
terio — as Jerome boldly expresses it — ab inferis suscitat 
resurgentem. But on the other hand that which is predicted 
comes back upon himself, to raise him also from death and 
Hades to the beholding of God. Verus jvstitiat sol — says 

Digitized by 



Sonntag in his Tituli Psalmorum, 1687 — e tepulcro resur* 
rexit, ottjXtj sett lapis sepulcralis a monumento devolutus, 
arcus triumphalis erectus, victoria ab hominibus reportata. En 
vobis Michtam! En Evangelium! — 



1 HEAR, Jahvo, righteousness, hearken to my cry, 
Give ear to my prayer with undeceitful lipsl 

2 From Thy presence let my right go forth, 
Thine eyes behold rightly. 

3 Thou hast proved my heart, Thou hast visited (me) 

by night, 
Thou hast tried me — Thou findest nothing: 
If I think evil, it doth not pass my mouth. 

4 In connection with the doings of men, by the words of 

Thy lips 
I have guarded myself against the paths of the destroyer; 

5 My steps held fast to Thy paths, 
My footsteps have not slipped. 

6 As such an one I call upon Thee, for Thou hearest me, 

Incline Thine ear unto me, hear my speech. 

7 Shew Thy marvellous lovingkindness, Helper of those 

who seek refuge 
From those that rise up [against them], at Thy right hand. 

8 Keep me as the apple — the pupil — of the eye; 
Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings 

9 From the wicked, who would destroy me, 

From my deadly enemies, who compass me about. 

10 They have shut up their fat, 

They speak proudly with their mouth; 

11 At every step they have surrounded me, 
Their purpose is to smite down to the earth. 

12 He is like a lion that is greedy to ravin, 
And like a young lion lurking in the lair. 

Digitized by 



13 Arise, Jahve, go forth to meet him, cast him down, 
Deliver my soul from the wicked, with Thy sword, 

14 From men, with Thy hand, Jahve — from men of this 

Whose portion is in life, and with Thy treasures Thou 

fillest their belly, 
They have plenty of children and leave their abundance 

to their young ones. 

15 As for me — in righteousness shall I behold Thy face, 

I will satisfy myself, when I awake, with Thine image. 

Fs. xvii. is placed after Ps.xvi., because just like the latter 
(cf. zi. 7) it closes with the hope of a blessed and satisfy- 
ing vision of God. In other respects also the two Psalms have 
many prominent features in common: as, for instance, the 
the petition OnoBf, xvi. 1, xvii. 8; the retrospect on nightly 
fellowship with God, xvi. 7, xvii. 3; the form of address in 
prayer fo, xvi. 1, xvii. 6; the verb -an, xvi. 5, xvii. 5, &c. 
(vid. Symbolce p. 49), notwithstanding a great dissimilarity 
in their tone. For Ps. xvi. is the first of those which we 
call Psalms written in the indignant style, in the series of 
the Davidic Psalms. The language of the Psalms of David, 
which is in other instances so flowing and clear, becomes 
more harsh and, in accordance with the subject and mood, 
as it were, full of unresolved dissonances (Ps. xvii. cxl. 
lviii. xxxvi. 2 sq., cf. x. 2 — 11) when describing the disso- 
lute conduct of his enemies, and of the ungodly in general. 
The language is then more rough and unmanageable, and 
wanting in the clearness and transparency we find else- 
where. The tone of the language also becomes more dull 
and, as it were, a dull murmur. It rolls on like the rumble 
of distant thunder, by piling up the suffixes mo, amo, emo, 
as in xvii. 10, xxxv. 16, lxiv. 6, 9, where David speaks of 
his enemies and describes them in a tone suggested by the 
indignation, which is working within his breast; or in lix. 
12 — 14, lvi. 8, xxi. 10 — 13, cxl. 10, lviii. 7., where, as in 
prophetic language, he announces to them of the judgment 
of God. The more vehement and less orderly flow of the 
language which we find here, is the result of the inward 
tumult of his feelings. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVII. 1—2. 233 

There are so many parallels in the thought and expres- 
sion of thought of this Psalm in other Davidic Psalms 
(among those we hare already commented on we may in- 
stance more especially Ps. vii. and xi., and also iv. and x.), 
that even Hitzig admits the yrb. The author of the Psalm 
is persecuted, and others with him; foes, among whom one, 
their leader, stands prominently forward, plot against his 
life, and have encompassed him about in the most threaten- 
ing manner, eager for his death. All this corresponds, 
line for line, with the situation of David in the wilderness 
of Maon (about three hours and three quarters S.S.E. of 
Hebron), as narrated in 1 Sam. xxiii. 25 sq., when Saul and 
his men were so close upon the heels of David and his men, 
that he only escaped capture by a most fortunate incident. 

The only name inscribed on this Psalm is n^SFl (a 
prayer), the most comprehensive name for the Psalms, and 
the oldest (lxxii. 20); for TB' and TiDTO were only given to 
them when they were sung in the liturgy and with musi- 
cal accompaniment. As the title of a Psalm it is found five 
times (xvii. lxxxvi. xc. cii. cxlii) in the Psalter, and besides 
that once, in Hab. iii. Habakkuk's nbsn is a hymn com- 
posed for music. But in the Psalter we do not find any 
indication of the Psalms thus inscribed being arranged for 
music. The strophe schema is 4. 7; 4. 4. 6. 7. 

Vers. 1 — 2. p"ijt is the accusative of the object: the 
righteousness, intended by the suppliant, is his own (ver. 
15a). He knows that he is not merely righteous in his rela- 
tion to man, but also in his relation to God. In all such 
assertions of pious self-consciousness, that which is intended 
is a righteousness of life which has its ground in the righ- 
teousness of faith. True, Hupfeld is of opinion, that under 
the Old Testament nothing was known either of righteous- 
ness which is by faith or of a righteousness belonging to 
another and imputed. But if this were true, then Paul was 
in gross error and Christianity is built upon the sand. But 
the truth, that faith is the ultimate ground of righteousness, 
is expressed in Gen. xv. 6, and at other turning-points in 
the course of the history of redemption; and the truth, that 
the righteousness which avails before God is a gift of grace 
is for instance, a thought distinctly marked out. in the 

Digitized by 


234 PSALM XVII. 2—3. 

expression of Jeremiah i3j3"JS 71, "the Lord our righteous* 
ness." The Old Testament conception, it is true, looks 
more to the phenomena than to the root of the matter 
(ist mehr phSnomenell ah tvurzelhafi) , is (so to speak) more 
Jacobic than Pauline; but the righteousness of life of the 
Old Testament and that of the New have one and the same 
basis, viz. in the grace of God, the Redeemer, towards sinful 
man, who in himself is altogether wanting in righteousness 
before God (cxliii. 2). Thus there is no self-righteousness, 
in David's praying that the righteousness, which in him is 
persecuted and cries for help, may be heard. For, on the 
one hand, in his personal relation to Saul, he knows himself 
to be free from any ungrateful thoughts of usurpation, and 
on the other, in his personal relation to God free from DOtD, 
i. e. self-delusion and hypocrisy. The shrill cry for help, 
ri3"j, which he raises, is such as may be heard and answered, 
because they are not lips of deceit with which he prays. The 
actual fact is manifest nTP 'JB^, therefore may his right 
go forth V3Eta, — just what does happen, by its being 
publicly proclaimed and openly maintained — from Him, 
for His eyes, the eyes of Him who knoweth the hearts (xi. 
4), behold ont^O (as in lviii. 2, lxxv. 3 = one*C2, ix. 9, and 
many other passages), in uprightness, i. e. in accordance 
with the facts of the case and without partiality. cnu^D 
might also be an accusative of the object (cf. 1 Ghron. xxix. 
17), but the usage of the language much more strongly 
favours the adverbial rendering, which is made still more 
natural by the confirmatory relation in which ver. 2b stands 
to 2a. 

Vers. 3 — 5. David refers to the divine testing and illu- 
mination of the inward parts, which he has experienced in 
himself, in support of his sincerity. The preterites in ver. 
3 express the divine acts that preceded the result NJJDFl~ta, 
viz. the testing He has instituted, which is referred to in 
»:r,S"1S and also rorja as a trying of gold by fire, and in "ij?9 
as an investigation (Job vii. 18). The result of the close scru- 
tiny to which God has subjected him in the night, when the 
bottom of a man's heart is at once made manifest, whether 
it be in his thoughts when awake or in the dream and fan- 
cies of the sleeper, was and is this , that He does not find, 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVII. 4-5. 435 

viz. anything whatever to punish in him, anything that is 
separated as dross from the gold. To the mind of the New 
Testament believer with his deep, and as it were microsco- 
pically penetrating, insight into the depth of sin, such a 
confession concerning himself would be more difficult than 
to the mind of an Old Testament saint. For a separation 
and disunion of flesh and spirit, which was unknown in the 
same degree to the Old Testament, has been accomplished 
in the New Testament consciousness by the facts and opera- 
tions of redemption revealed in the New Testament; although 
at the same time it must be remembered that in such confes- 
sions the Old Testament consciousness does not claim to be 
clear from sins, but only from a conscious love of sin, and 
from a self-love that is hostile to God. 

With T)1B] David begins his confession of how Jahve 
found him to be, instead of finding anything punishable in 
him. This word is either an infinitive like nl3H (Ixxvii. 10) 
with the regular ultima accentuation, formed after the man- 
ner of the D'6 verbs, — in accordance with which Hitzig 
renders it: my thinking does not overstep my mouth, — or 
even 1 pers. prat., which is properly Milel, but does also 
occur as Milra, e. g. Deut. xzxii. 41, Isa. xliv. 16 (vid. on 
Job xix. 17), — according to which Bottcher translates: 
should I think anything evil, it dare not pass beyond my 
mouth, — or (since OCT may denote the determination that 
precedes the act, e. g. Jer. iv. 28, Lam. ii. 17): I have de- 
termined my mouth shall not transgress. This last render- 
ing is opposed by the fact, that -cj? by itself in the ethical 
signification "to transgress" (cf. post-biblical rn35J itopApoon) 
is not the usage of the biblical Hebrew, and that when 
i©— Dj£ stand close together, id is presumptively the object. 
We therefore give the preference to Bottcher's explanation, 
which renders TVIQ1 as a hypothetical perfect and is favoured 
by Prov. xxx. 32 (which is to be translated: and if thou 
thinkest evil, (lay) thy hand on thy mouth I). Nevertheless 
iS-*iay ^3 is not the expression of a fact, but of a purpose, 
as the combination of bz with the future requires it to be 
taken. The psalmist is able to testify of himself that he 
so keeps evil thoughts in subjection within him, even when 
they may arise, that they do not pass beyond his mouth, 

Digitized by 


236 PSALM XVII. 6-4. 

much less that he should put them into action. But per- 
haps the psalmist wrote !]"•© originally, "my reflecting does 
not go beyond Thy commandment" (according to Num. xxii. 
18, 1 Sam. xr. 24, Pro v. viii. 29), — a meaning better suit- 
ed, as a result of the search, to the nightly investigation. 
The b of fifoysb need not be the b of reference (as to); it is 
that of the state or condition, as in xxxii. 6, lzix. 22. CTO, 
as perhaps also in Job xxxi. 33, Hos. yi. 7 (if din is not 
there the name of the first man), means, men as they are 
by nature and habit, 'prist? "OT3 does not admit of being 
connected with ffi^j;?^: at the doings of the world contrary 
to Thy revealed will (Hofmann and others); for 2 ^J?S can- 
not mean: to act contrary to any one, but only: to work 
upon any one, Job xxxv. 6. These words must therefore 
be regarded as a closer definition, placed first, of the 
'Fnoie' which follows: in connection with the doings of men, 
by virtue of the divine commandment, he has taken care 
of the paths of the oppressor, viz. not to go in them; 1 Sam. 
xxv. 21 is an instance in support of this rendering, where 
i mctS', as in Job ii. 6, means: I have kept (Nabal's posses- 
sion), not seizing upon it myself. Jerome correctly trans- 
lates vias latronis; for y>")B signifies one who breaks in, t. e. 
one who does damage intentionally and by violence. The 
confession concerning himself is still continued in ver. 5, 
for the inf. absol. "Jjbri, if taken as imperative would express 
a prayer for constancy, that is alien to the circumstances 
described. The perfect after b? is also against such a ren- 
dering. It must therefore be taken as inf. historicus, and 
explained according to Job xxiii. 11, cf. Ps. xli. 13. The 
noun following the inf. absol., which is usually the object, 
is the subject in this instance, as, e. g. in Job xl. 2, Prov. 
xvii. 12, Eccl. iv. 2, and frequently. It is rntP'N, and not 
nilt'N, ilBto (a step) never having the tf dageshed, except 
in ver. 11 and Job xxxi. 7. 

Vers. 6 — 7. It is only now, after his inward parts and 
his walk have been laid open to Jahve, that he resumes his 
petition, which is so well justified and so soundly based, 
and enters into detail. The 'JN* found beside *priNTj? (the 

* The word is pointed 1 JN in correct texts, as y 3n always it when 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 

PSALM XVII. 6-7. 237 

perfect referring to that which has just now been put into 
execution) is meant to imply: such an one as he has described 
himself to be according to the testimony of his con- 
science, may call upon God, for God hears such and will 
therefore also hear him. ?|JTN ton exactly corresponds to 
the Latin au-di (aus-cul-ta). The ffiph. r6en (tO^Bn, xxxi. 
22, cf. iv. 4) signifies here to work in an extraordinary and 
marvellous manner. The danger of him who thus prays 
is great, but the mercies of God, who is ready and able to 
help, are still greater. Oh that He may, then, exhibit all 
its fulness on his behalf. The form of the address resem- 
bles the Greek, which is so fond of participles. If it is trans- 
lated as Luther translates it: "Shew Thy marvellous loving- 
kindness, Thou Saviour of those who trust in Thee, Against 
those who so set themselves against Thy right hand", then 
□'DTI is used just as absolutely as in Prov. xiv. 32, and 
the right hand of God is conceived of as that which arranges 
and makes firm. But "to rebel against God's right (not 
statuta, but dexteramy is a strange expression. There are 
still two other constructions from which to choose, viz. "Thou 
Deliverer of those seeking protection from adversaries, with 
Thy right hand" (Hitz.), or: "Thou Helper of those seeking 
protection from adversaries, at Thy right hand" (Aben-Ezra, 
Tremell.). This last rendering is to be preferred to the two 
others. Since, on the one hand, one says jo DODO, refuge 
from . . . , and on the other, 3 ncn to hide one's self in 

* * 1 T T 

any one, or in any place, this determining of the verbal 
notion by the preposition (on this, see above on ii. 12) must 
be possible in both directions. D'DDlpriBD is equivalent to 
CrPOOIpriDD Job. xxvii. 7; and ym*2 b'Din, those seeking 
protection at the strong hand of Jahve. The force of the 
3 is just the same as in connection with "lFiriCH, 1 Sam. 
xxiii. 19. In Damascus and throughout Syria — Wetz- 
stein observes on this passage — the weak make use of 
these words when they surrender themselves to the strong: 

it has Munach and Dechl follows, e. g, also crri. 16. This Gaja de- 
mands an emphatic intonation of the secondary word in its relation 
to the principal word (which here is ^flNIp). 

Digitized by 


238 PSALM XVII. 8 -9. 

dj^ SudiL bf "I am in the grasp of thy hand (in thy closed 
hand) t e. I give myself up entirely to thee".* 

Vers. 8 — 9. The covenant relationship towards Himself 
in which Jahve has placed David, and the relationship of 
love in which David stands to Jahve, fully justified the op- 
pressed one in his extreme request. The apple of the eye, 
which is surrounded by the iris, is called |1k^k, the man 
(Arabic insdn), or in the diminutive and endearing sense of 
the termination on: the little man of the eye, because a 
picture in miniature of one's self is seen, as in a glass, when 
looking into another person's eye. vyrn^ either because it 
is as if born out of the eye and the eye has, as it were, con- 
centrated itself in it, or rather because the little image 
which is mirrored in it is, as it were, the little daughter 
of the eye (here and Lam. ii. 18). To the Latin pupilla 
(pupula), Greek xipij, corresponds most closely )>g rC2, 
Zech. ii. 12, which does not signify the gate, aperture, sight, 
but, as n? shews, the little boy, or more strictly, the little 
girl of the eye. It is singular that jlt^N here has the femi- 
nine p.ljVQ as the expression in apposition to it. The con- 
struction might be genitival: "as the little man of the apple 
of the eye", inasmuch as the saint knows himself to be so 
near to God, that, as it were, his image in miniature is mir- 
rored in the great eye of God. But (1) the more ordinary 
name for the pupil of the eye is not |>y re, but JlB*N; and 
(2) with that construction the proper point of the compari- 
son, that the apple of the eye is an object of the most care- 
ful self-preservation, is missed. There is, consequently, 
a combination of two names of the pupil or apple of the 
eye, the usual one and one more select, without reference to 
the gender of the former, in order to give greater definition 

• r — 

* Cognate in meaning to 3 nDH are \^> «au»( and vj ^03, 
t. g. w>o Jf ^yA k^l J.I % ,5? jj be shelters (hides) himself by th« 
wall from the wind, or 0*aJI .jj* SL*xjJU by a fire against the cold, 
and ole> which is often applied in like manner to God's protection. 
Thus, e. g. (according to Boch&ri's Sunna) a woman, whom Mohammed 

wanted to seize, cried ont: A_A _ * aJULo £«xl I place myself under 
God's protection against thee, and he replied: jUuj «y<\c thou hast 
taken refuge in an (inaccessible) asylum (cf. Job, i. 310 n. and ii. 22 n. 2). 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVII. 9-10. 230 

and emphasis to the figure. The primary passage for this 
bold figure, which is the utterance of loving entreaty, is 
Deut. xxxii. 10, where the dazzling anthropomorphism is 
effaced by the LXX. and other ancient versions;* cf. also Sir. 
xvii. 22. Then follows another figure, taken from the eagle, 
which hides its young under its wings, likewise from Deut. 
xxxii, viz. ver. 11, for the figure of the hen (Mat. xxiii. 37) 
is alien to the Old Testament. In that passage, Moses, in 
his great song, speaks of the wings of God; but the double 
figure of the shadow of God's wings (here and in xxxvi. 8, 
lvii. 2, lxiii. 8) is coined by David. "God's wings" are the 
spreadings out, i. e. the manifestations of His love, taking 
the creature under the protection of its intimate fellowship, 
and the "shadow" of these wings is the refreshing rest and 
security which the fellowship of this love affords to those, 
who hide themselves beneath it, from the heat of outward 
or inward conflict. 

From ver. 9 we learn more definitely the position in 
which the psalmist is placed, ttb* signifies to use violence, 
to destroy the life, continuance, or possession of any one. 
According to the accentuation K'DOa is to be connected with 
iyi<, not with iB'j??, and to be understood according to Ez. 
xzv. 6: "enemies with the soul" are those whose enmity is 
not merely superficial, but most deep-seated (cf. 2x <j*ox%, 
Eph. vi. 6, Col. iii. 23). The soul (viz. the hating and 
eagerly longing soul, xxvii. 12, xli. 3) is just the same as 
if #DJ3 is combined with the verb, viz. the soul of the ene- 
mies; and itfEO Ott would therefore not be more correct, as 
Hitzig thinks, than tS'SJD »3'K, but would have a different 
meaning. They are eager to destroy him (perf. conatut), 
and form a circle round about him, as ravenous ones, in 
order to swallow him up. 

Vers. 10 — 12 tell what sort of people these persecu- 
tors are. Their heart is called fat, adept, not as though 
zbr\ could in itself be equivalent to ?b, more especially as 
both words are radically distinct (a$n from the root a^, 
Xiir; a!? from the root aS, *)b to envelope: that which is en- 
veloped, the kernel, the inside), but (without any need for 

• Vid. Geiger, Vrtchrift mi Uebtrsetzungen der Bibel, 8. 324. 

Digitized by 


240 PSALM XVII. 10—12. 

▼on Ortenberg's conjecture TiVD 102^ ai?n "thoy close their 
heart with fat") because it is, as it were, entirely fat (cxix. 
70, cf. lxxiii. 7), and because it is inaccessible to any feeling 
of compassion, and in general incapable of the nobler emo- 
tions. To shut up the fat — the heart (cf. xXeteiv xi 
onX&irxva 1 John Hi. 17), is equivalent to: to fortify one's 
self wilfully in indifference to sympathy, tender feeling, and 
all noble feelings (cf. ab pntzftl — to harden, Isa. vi. 10). 
The construction of ic© (which agrees in sound with i"icn5, 
Job xr. 27) is just the same as that of "»Slp, iii. 5. On the 
other hand, itw'k (after the form *n»jJ and written plene) is 
neither such an accusative of the means or instrument, nor 
the second accusative, beside the accusative of the object, 
of that by which the object is surrounded, that is usually 
found with verbs of surrounding (e. g. v. 13, xxxii. 7); for 
"they have surrounded me (us) with our step" is unintelli- 
gible. But ij"na>N can be the accusative of the member, as 
in iii. 8, cf. xxii. 17, Gen. iii. 15, for "it is true the step is 
not a member" (Hitz.), but since "step" and "foot" are inter- 
changeable notions, lxxiii. 2, the ax% a xaO'SXov xal pipo« 
is applicable to the former, and as, e. g. Homer says, Iliad 
vii. 355: ok fwiXiora ic6vo; <ppiva<; AjKpipipNjxev , the Hebrew 
poet can also say: they have encompassed us (and in fact) 
our steps, each of our steps (so that we cannot go forwards 
or backwards with our feet). The Keri 121220 gets rid of the 
change in number which we have with the Chethib O1230; 
the latter, however, is admissible according to parallels like 
lxii. 5, and corresponds to David's position, who is hunted 
by Saul and at the present time driven into a strait at the 
head of a small company of faithful followers. Their eyea 
— he goes on to say in ver. lift — have they set to fell, . 
viz. us, who are encompassed, to the earth, i. e. so that wo 
shall be cast to the ground. ntSJ is transitive, as in xviii. 
10, lxii. 4, in the transitively applied sense Of lxxiii. 2 (cf. 
xxxvii. 31) : to incline to fall (whereas in xliv. 19, Job xxxi. 
7, it means to turn away from); and jnia (without any need 
for the conjecture rnio) expresses the final issue, instead 
of Yl$h, vii. 6. By the expression I^OT one is prominently 
singled out from the host of the enemy, viz. its chief, the 
words being : his likeness is as a lion, according to the pecu- 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVn. 13—15. 241 

liarity of the poetical style, of changing verbal into sub- 
stantival clauses, instead of TVTtQ HOT. Since in Old Tes- 

* ••(-ITT 

tament Hebrew, as also in Syriac and Arabic, 3 is only a 
preposition, not a connective conjunction, it cannot be ren- 
dered: as a lion longs to prey, but: as a lion that is greedy 
or hungry (cf. uL^used of sinking away, decline, obscur- 
ing or eclipsing, growing pale, and <_nmr- more especially 
of enfeebling, hunger, distinct from r)frn — oL&J'to peel off, 
make bare) to ravin. In the parallel member of the verse 
the participle alternates with the attributive clause. T>S3 is 
(according to Meier) the young lion as being covered with 
thicker hair. 

Vers. 13 — 15. The phrase '39 D"D, antevertere faciem 
alicufus, means both to appear before any one with rever- 
ence, xcv. 2 (post-biblical: to pay one's respects to any one) 
and to meet any one as an enemy, rush on him. The foe 
springs like a lion upon David, may Jahve — so he prays 
— as his defence cross the path of the lion and intercept 
him, and cast him down so that he, being rendered harm- 
less, shall lie there with bowed knees (JH2, of the lion, Gen. 
xlix. 9, Num. xxiv. 9). He is to rescue his soul from the 
ungodly *|2^n. This "pin, and also the ?|T which follows, 
can be regarded as a permutative of the subject (Bottcher, 
Hupfeld, and Hitzig), an explanation which is commended 
by xliv. 3 and other passages. But it is much more prob- 
ably that more exact definitions of this kind are treated as 
accusatives, vid. on iii. 5. At any rate "sword" and "hand" 
are meant as the instruments by which the tO^D, rescuing, 
is effected. The force of ntste extends into ver. 14, and 
CTTICO (with a Chateph under the letter that is freed from 
reduplication, like p2QD, xxxiii. 14) corresponds to $7t^"lD, 
as ?pji to ?)3*in. The word D'noo (plural of no, men, Deut. 
ii. 34', whence cho, each and every one), which of itself gives 
no complete sense, is repeated and made complete after the 
interruption caused by the insertion of 'iTpn, — a remark- 
able manner of obstructing and then resuming the thought, 
which Hofmann (Schriftbeweis ii. 2. 495) seeks to get over 
by a change in the division of the verse and in the inter- 
punction. "6n, either from l^n Syriac to creep, glide, slip 
away (whence Vrfoft a weasel, a mole) or from ~bn Talmudio 

VOL. I 16 

Digitized by 


242 P8ALM XVII. 13—15. 

to cover, bide, signifies : this temporal life which glides by 
unnoticed (distinct from the Arabic chald, chuld, an abiding 
stay, endless duration) ; and consequently Hn, limited exist- 
ence, from b"\Ti to have an end, alternates with l^n as a play 
upon the letters, comp. xlix. 2 with Isa. xxxviii. 11. The 
combination ibm D'no resembles x. 18, xvi. 4. What is 
meant, is: men who have no other home but the world, which 
passeth away with the lust thereof, men 2x too x6au,oo tootoo, 
or olol xou alwvo? toutoo. The meaning of the further de- 
scription D'«n? Dj?Sn (cf. Eccl. ix. 9) becomes clear from the 
converse in xvi. 5.' Jahve is the pbr of the godly man; 
and the sphere within which the worldling claims his pbr\ 
is D^ITI, this temporal, visible, and material life. This is 
everything to him; whereas the godly man says: !j"TDTI 310 
O>>no, lxiii. 4. The contrast is not so much between this 
life and the life to come, as between the world (life) and 
God. Here we see into the inmost nature of the Old Testa- 
ment faith. To the Old Testament believer, all the blessed- 
ness and glory of the future life, which the New Testament 
unfolds, is shut up in Jahve. Jahve is his highest good, 
and possessing Him he is raised above heaven and earth, 
above life and death. To yield implicitly to Him, without 
any explicit knowledge of a blessed future life, to be satis- 
fied with Him, to rest in Him, to hide in Him in the face 
of death, is the characteristic of the Old Testament faith. 
D"TD Opbn expresses both the state of mind and the lot of 
the men of the world. Material things which are their high- 
est good, fall also in abundance to their share. The words 
"whose belly Thou fillest with Thy treasure* (ChetMb: 
spBtfl the usual participial form, but as a participle an Ara- 
maising form) do not sound as though the poet meant to say 
that God leads them to repentance by the riches of His 
goodness, but on the contrary that God, by satisfying their 
desires which are confined to the outward and sensuous only, 
absolutely deprives them of all claim to possessions that 
extend beyond the world and this present temporal life. Thus, 
then, JIBS in this passage is used exactly as DOlDS is used in 
Job xx. 26 (from ]BS to hold anything close to one, to hold 
back, to keep by one). Moreover, thereis not the slightest alloy 
ol murmur or envy in the words. The godly man who lacks 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVII. 15, 243 

these good things out of the treasury of God, has higher 
delights; he can exclaim, xxxi. 20: "how great is Thy good- 
ness which Thou hast laid up (FOBS) for those who fear 
Thee!" Among the good things with which God fills the belly 
and house of the ungodly (Job xxii. 17 sq.) are also chil- 
dren in abundance; these are elsewhere a blessing upon piety 
(exxvii. 3 sq., exxviii. 3 sq.), but to those who do not 
acknowledge the Giver they are a snare to self-glorifying, 
Job xxi. 11 (cf. Wisdom iv. 1). O"03 is not the subject, but 
an accusative, and has been so understood by all the old 
translators from the original text, just as in the phrase 
CO' jn# to be satisfied with, or weary of, life. On ntyty 
vid. on viii. 3. *irv (from *in> to stretch out in length, then 
to be overhanging, towering above, projecting, superfluous, 
redundant) signifies here, as in Job xxii. 20, riches and the 
abundance of things possessed. 

Ver. 15. With >jn he contrasts his incomparably greater 
prosperity with that of his enemies. He, the despised and 
persecuted of men, will behold God's face p'TCS, in righ- 
teousness, which will then find its reward (Mat. v. 8, Hebr. 
xii. 14), and will, when this hope is realised by him, tho- 
roughly refresh himself with the form of God. It is not suffi- 
cient to explain the vision of the divine countenance here as 
meaning the experience of the gracious influences which 
proceed from the divine countenance again unveiled and 
turned towards him. The parallel of the next clause requires 
an actual vision, as in Num. xii. 8, according to which Jahve 
appeared to Moses in the true form of His being, without 
the intervention of any self-manifestation of an accommo- 
dative and visionary kind; but at the same time, as in Exod. 
xxxiii. 20, where the vision of the divine countenance is 
denied to Moses, according to which, consequently, the self- 
manifestation of Jahve in His intercourse with Moses is not 
to be thought of without some veiling of Himself which 
might render the vision tolerable to him. Here, however, 
where David gives expression to a hope which is the final 
goal and the very climax of all his hopes, one has no right 
in any way to limit the vision of God, who in love permits 
him to behold Him {vid. on xi. 7), and to limit the being 
satisfied with His niton (LXX. t^jv 86E«v ooo, vid. Psychol 

Digitized by 


244 PSALM XVII. 15. 

S. 49; transl. p. 61). If this is correct, then TOTia cannot 
mean "when I wake up from this night's sleep* as Ewald, 
Hupfeld and others explain it; for supposing the Psalm 
were composed just before falling asleep what would be the 
meaning of the postponement of so transcendent a hope to 
the end of his natural sleep? Nor can the meaning he to 
"awake to a new life of blessedness and peace through the 
sunlight of divine favour which again arises after the night 
of darkness and distress in which the poet is now to be 
found" (Kurtz); for to awake from a night of affliction is 
an unsuitable idea and for this very reason cannot be sup- 
ported. The only remaining explanation, therefore, is the 
waking up from the sleep of death (cf. Bottcher, De inferis 
§ 365 — 367). The fact that all who are now in their graves 
shall one day hear the voice of Him that wakes the dead, 
as it is taught in the age after the Exile (Dan. xii. 2), was 
surely not known to David, for it was not yet revealed to 
him. But why may not this truth of revelation, towards 
which prophecy advances with such giant strides (Isa. xxvi. 
19. Ezek. xxxvii. 1 — 14), be already heard even in the 
Psalms of David as a bold demand of faith and as a hope 
that has struggled forth to freedom out of the comfortless 
conception of Sheol possessed in that age, just as it is heard 
a few decades later in the master-work of a cotemporary of 
Solomon, the Book of Job? The morning in Ps. xlix. 15 is 
also not any morning whatever following upon the night, 
but that final morning which brings deliverance to the 
upright and inaugurates their dominion. A sure knowledge 
of the fact of the resurrection such as, according to Hof- 
mann (Schriflleweis ii. 2, 490), has existed in the Old Testa- 
ment from the beginning, is not expressed in such passages. 
For laments like vi. 6, xxx. 10, lxxxviii. 11 — 13, shew that 
no such certain knowledge was then in existence ; and when 
the Old Testament literature which we now possess allows 
us elsewhere an insight into the history of the perception 
of redemption, it does not warrant us in concluding any- 
thing more than that the perception of the future resurrec- 
tion of the dead did not pass from the prophetic word into 
the believing mind of Israel until about the time of the Exile, 
and that up to that period faith made bold to hope for s> 

Digitized by 



redemption from death, but only by means of an inference 
drawn from that which was conceived and existed within itself, 
without having an express word of promise in its favour.* 
Thus it is here also. David certainly gives full expression to 
the hope of a vision of God, which, as righteous before God, 
will be vouchsafed to him; and vouchsafed to him, even 
though he should fall asleep in death in the present extre- 
mity (xiii. 4), as one again awakened from the sleep of 
death, and, therefore (although this idea does not directly 
coincide with the former), as one raised from the dead. But 
this hope is not a believing appropriation of a "certain know- 
ledge", but a view that, by reason of the already existing 
revelation of God, lights up out of his consciousness of fellow- 
ship with Him. 



2 FERVENTLY do I love Thee, Jahve, my strength, 
8 Jahve, my rock, and my fortress, and my Deliverer, 
My God, my fastness wherein I hide myself, 
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high towerl 

4 As worthy to be praised do I call upon Jahve, 
And against mine enemies shall I be helped. 

5 The bands of death had compassed me 
And the floods of the abyss came upon me. 

6 The bands of hades had surrounded me, 
The snares of death assaulted mo. 

* To this Hofmann, toe. cit. S. 496, replies as follows: *We do not 
find that faith indulges in such boldness elsewhere, or that the believ- 
ing ones cherish hopes which are based on such insecure grounds." 
But the word of God is surely no insecure ground, and to draw bold 
conclusions from that which is intimated only from afar, was indeed, 
even in many other respects (for instance, respecting the incantation, 
and respecting the abrogation of the ceremonial law), the province of 
the Old Testament faith. 

Digitized by 



7 In my distress I called upon Jahvc, 
And unto my God did I cry; 

He heard my call out of His temple, 

And my cry before Him came into His cars. 

8 The earth shook and quaked, 

And the foundations of the mountains trembled, 
And they swung to and fro, for He was wroth. 

9 There went up a smoke in His nostrils, 
And fire out of His mouth devoured, 
Coals were kindled by it. 

10 Then He bowed the heavens and came down, 
And thick darkness was under His feet 

11 And He rode upon a cherub and did fly, 
And floated upon the wings of the wind; 

12 He made darkness His covering, His pavilion round about 

Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. 

13 Out of the brightness before Him there broke through His 

Hail-stones and coals of fire. 

14 Then Jahve thundered in the heavens, 

And the Highest made His voice to sound forth. 
[Hail-stones and coals of fire.] 

15 And He sent forth His arrows and scattered them, 
And lightnings in abundance and discomfited them. 

16 And the channels of the waters became visible, 
And the foundations of the earth were laid bare, 
At Thy threatening, Jahve, 

At the snorting of the breath of Thy wrath. 

17 He reached from the height, He seized me, 
He drew me up out of great waters; 

18 He delivered me from my grim foe, 

And from them that hated me, because they were too 
strong for me. 

19 They came upon me in the day of my calamity, 
Then Jahve was a stay to me, 

Digitized by 



20 And brought me forth into a large place; 
He delivered me, for He delighted in me. 

21 Jahve rewarded me according to my righteousness, 
According to the cleanness of my hands did He reconv* 

pense me. 

22 For I have kept the ways of Jahve, 

And have not wickedly departed from my God. 

23 Far from this, all His judgments are my aim, 
And His statutes I do not put away from me. 

24 And I was spotless towards Him, 

And I have kept myself from mine iniquity. 

25 Therefore Jahve recompensed me according to any righ< 

According to the cleanness of my hands, which waa 
manifest in His eyes. 

26 Towards the good Thou shewest Thyself good 
Towards the man of perfect submission Thou shewest 

Thyself yielding. ' 

27 Towards him who sanctifies himself Thou shewest Thy- 

self pure, 
And towards the perverse Thou shewest Thyself fro- 

28 For Thou, Thou savest the afflicted people, 
And high looks Thou bringest down. 

29 For Thou makest my lamp light; 
Jahve, my God, enlighteneth my darkness. 

30 For by Thee do I scatter a troop, 
And by my God do I leap walls. 

SI As for God — spotless is His way, 
The word of Jahve is tried; 
A shield is He to all who hide in Him. 

32 For who is a divine being, but Jahve alone. 
And who is a rock save our God? 

33 The God, who girded me with strength, 
And made my way perfect, 

Digitized by 



84 Making my feet like hinds' feet, 

And who set me upon my high places, 

35 Training my hands for war, 

And mine arms bent a bow of brass. 

36 And Thou gavest me also the shield of Thy salvation, 
And Thy right hand upheld me, 

And Thy lowliness made me great. 

87 Thou madest room for my footsteps under me. 
And mine ankles have not slipped. 

88 I pursued mine enemies and overtook them, 
And turned not back, till they were consumed. 

39 I smote them, so that they could not rise, 
They fell under my feet 

40 And Thou didst gird me with strength for the battle. 
Thou madest my foes to bow down under me, 

41 Thou gavest me the necks of mine enemies, 
And those that hated me, I utterly destroyed. 

42 They cried, but there was no helper, 
Even to Jahve, but He answered them not. 

43 And I crushed them as dust before the wind, 
Like the dirt of the streets I emptied them out. 

44 Thou didst deliver me from the strivings of the people, 
Thou didst make me Head of the nations; 

A people that I knew not, served me. 

45 At the hearing of the ear, they obeyed me, 
Strangers submitted to me, 

46 Strangers faded away, 

And came forth trembling from their strongholds. 

47 Jahve liveth, and blessed be my Rock, 

And let the God of my salvation be exalted; 

48 The God, who gave me revenges 
And bent back peoples under me, 

49 My Deliverer from mine enemies, 

Yea, Thou who liftest me up above my foes, 
Who rescuest me from the violent man. 

Digitized by 



50 Therefore will I praise Thee among the nations, Jahve, 
And I will sing praises nnto Thy name, 

51 As He, who giveth great deliverance to His king 
And sheweth favour to His anointed, 

To David and his seed for ever. 

Next to a fi^BFl of David comes a HTtp' (nom. unitatis 
from "VBOj which is in many ways hoth in words and thoughts 
(Symbolae p. 49) interwoven with the former. It is the long- 
est of all the hymnic Psalms, and bears the inscription: To the 
Precentor, by the servant of Jahve, by David, who spake unto 
Jahve the words of this song in the day that Jahve had deli' 
vered him out of the hand of all his enemies and out of the 
hand of Saul: then he said. The original inscription of the 
Psalm in the primary collection was probably only riJHO^ 
"VPb 71 ISHfh, like the inscription of Ps. xxxvi. The rest of 
the inscription resembles the language with which songs of 
this class are wont to be introduced in their connection in 
the historical narrative, Ex. xv. 1, Num. xxi. 17, and more 
especially Deut. xxxi. 30. And the Psalm before us is found 
again in 2 Sam. xxii., introduced by words, the manifestly 
unaccidental agreement of which with the inscription in the 
Psalter, is explained by its having been incorporated in one 
of the histories from which the Books of Samuel are extract- 
ed, — probably the Annals (Dibre ha-Jamim) of David. From 
this source the writer of the Books of Samuel has taken the 
Psalm, together with that introduction; and from this source 
also springs the historical portion of the inscription in the 
Psalter, which is connected with the preceding by "itt^t. 

David may have styled himself in the inscription 71 "135?, 
just as the apostles call themselves 8oo).oi 'lijaou Xpiotou. He 
also in other instances, in prayer, calls himself "the ser- 
vant of Jahve", xix. 12, 14, cxliv. 10, 2 Sam. vii. 20, as 
every Israelite might do; but David, who is the first after 
Moses and Joshua to bear this designation or by-name, 
could do so in an especial sense. For he, with whom the 
kingship of promise began, marks an epoch in his service 
of the work of God no less than did Moses, through whose 
mediation Israel received the Law, and Joshua, through 
whose instrumentality they obtained the Land of promise. 

Digitized by 


250 fSALM XVI11. 

The terminology of psalm-poesy does not include the 
word DTK', hut only ")»#. This at once shews that the his- 
torical portion of the inscription comes from some other 
source. Cfta is followed, not by the infin. b*&\'. on the day 
of deliverance, hut by the more exactly plnsquamperf. ^an: 
on the day (D1'3 — at the time, as in Gen. ii. 4, and fre- 
quently) when he had delivered — a genitival (Ges. § 116, 
3) relative clause, like cxxxviii. 3, Ex. vi. 28, Num. 
Ps. lvi. 10. "Wp alternates with *)3o in this text without 
any other design than that of varying the expression. The 
deliverance out of the hand of Saul is made specially pro- 
minent, because the most prominent portion of the Psalm, 
vers. 5 — 20, treats of it. The danger in which David then 
was placed, was of the most personal, the most perilous, 
and the most protracted kind. This prominence was of 
great service to the collector, because the preceding Psalm 
bears the features of this time, the lamentations over which 
are heard there and further back, and now all find expres- 
sion in this more extended song of praise. 

Only a fondness for doubt can lead any one to doubt 
the Davidic origin of this Psalm, attested as it is in two 
works, which are independent of one another. The twofold 
testimony of tradition is supported by the fact that the 
Psalm contains nothing that militates against David being 
the author; even the mention of his own name at the close, 
is not against it (cf. 1 Kings ii. 45). We have before us 
an Israelitish counterpart to the cuneiform monumental 
inscriptions, in which the kings of worldly monarchies reca- 
pitulate the deeds they have done by the help of their gods. 
The speaker is a king; the author of the Books of Samuel 
found the song already in existence as a Davidic song; the 
difference of his text from that which lies before us in the 
Psalter, shews that at that time it had been transmitted 
from some earlier period; writers of the later time of the 
kings here and there use language which is borrowed from 
it or are echoes of it (comp. Prov. xxx. 5 with ver. 31; Hab. 
iii. 19 with ver. 34); it bears throughout the mark of the 
classic age of the language and poetry, and "if it be not 
David's, it must have been written in his name and by some 
one imbued with his spirit, and who could have been this 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVIII. 2-4. 251 

cotemporary poet and twin-genius?* (Hitzig). All this 
irresistibly points us to David himself, to whom really 
belong also all the other songs in the Second Book of Sa- 
muel, which are introduced as Davidic (over Saul and Jona- 
than, over Abner, Ac). This, the greatest of all, springs 
entirely from the new self-consciousness to which he was 
raised by the promises recorded in 2 Sam. vii. ; and towards 
the end, it closes with express retrospective reference to 
these promises; for David's certainty of the everlasting 
duration of his house, and God's covenant of mercy with his 
house, rests upon the announcement made by Nathan. 

The Psalm divides into two halves; for the strain of 
praise begins anew with ver. 32, after having run its first 
course and come to a beautiful close in ver. 31. The two 
halves are also distinct in respect of their artificial form. 
The strophe schema of the first is: 6. 8. 8. 6. 8 (not 9). 8. 
8. 8. 7. The mixture of six and eight line strophes is sym- 
metrical, and the seven of the last strophe is nothing strange. 
The mixture in the second half on the contrary is varied, 
The art of the strophe system appears here, as is also seen in 
other instances in the Psalms, to be relaxed; and the striv- 
ing after form at the commencement has given way to the 
pressure and crowding of the thoughts. 

The traditional mode of writing out this Psalm, as also 
the Cantica, 2 Sam. xxii. and Judges v., is "a half-brick upon 
a brick, and a brick upon a half-brick" (roab '33 by DTK 
PP*^« '33 by nJ3^l): i. e. one line consisting of two, and one 
of three parts of a verse, and the line consisting of the 
three parts has only one word on the right and on the left; 
the whole consequently forms three columns. On the other 
hand, the song in Deut. xxxii. (as also Josh. xii. 9 sqq., 
Esth. ix. 7 — 10) is to be written "a half-brick upon a half- 
brick and a brick upon a brick", i. e. in only two columns, 
cf. infra p. 269. 

Vers. 2 — 4. The poet opens with a number of endear- 
ing names for God, in which he gratefully comprehends the 
results of long and varied experience. So far as regards the 
parallelism of the members, a monostich forms the begin- 
ning of this Psalm, as in Ps. xvi. xxiii. xxv. and many 

Digitized by 


252 PSALM XVM. 2—4. 

others. Nevertheless the matter assumes a somewhat dif- 
ferent aspect, if ver. 3 is not, with Maurer, Hengstenherg 
and Hupfeld, taken as two predicate clauses (Jahve is . . ., 
my God is . . .), but ** a simple vocative — a rendering 
which alone corresponds to the intensity with which this 
greatest of the Davidic hymns opens — God heing invoked 
by Tl, 'D, ^K, and each of these names being followed by a 
predicative expansion of itself, which increases in fulness 
of tone and emphasis. The *|CPi"Wt (with a , according to 
Ew. § 251, (), which carries the three series of the names 
of God, makes up in depth of meaning what is wanting in 
compass. Elsewhere we find only the Piel crn of tender 
sympathising love, but here the Kal is used as an Aramaism. 
Hence the Jalkut on this passage explains it by "|JV 'Ncm 
"I love thee", of ardent, heartfelt love and attachment. The 
primary signification of softness (root m, —\, a.\, to be 

soft, lax, loose), whence Qfn, uterus, is transferred in both 
cases to tenderness of feeling or sentiment. The most general 
predicate 'pin (from p?h according to a similar inflexion to 
"ICfc, IDb, pbv, plur. <pcj; Prov. ix. 18) is followed by those 
which describe Jahve as a protector and deliverer in persecu- 
tion on the one hand, and on the other as a defender and the 
giver of victory in battle. They are all typical names sym- 
bolising what Jahve is in Himself; hence instead of no^Dci it 
would perhaps have been more correct to point 'tO^DD! (and 
my refuge). God had already called Himself a shield to 
Abram, Gen. xv. 1; and He is called ym (cf. J2N Gen. xlix. 
24) in the great Mosaic song, Deut. xxxii. 4, 37 (the latter 
verse is distinctly echoed here). j6d from j£>D, *JL», findere, 

means properly a cleft in a rock (Arabic ybp*), then a cleft 

* Neshw&n defines thus: «JL«J! ia a catting in a mountain after 
the manner of a gorge; and Jakut, who cites a number of places that 
are so called: a wide plain (*Ldi) enclosed by steep rocks, which is 

reached through a narrow pass ( 1 _ P »A ), but can only be descended 
on foot. Accordingly, in ^?D the idea of a safe (and comfortable) 
hiding-place preponderates; in 1 "!"H that of firm ground and inac- 
cessibility. The one figure calls to mind the (well-watered) Edomitish 
y?D surrounded with precipitous rocks, Isa. xvi. 1, zlii. 11, the rWtpa 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVIII. 2—1 253 

rocic, and ire, like the Arabic yJaJo, a great and bard mass 

of rock (Aramaic *nb, a mountain). The figures of the 
iTJWD (rnlSO, ISO) and the 2&c are related; the former 
signifies properly specula, a watch-tower*, and the latter, 
a steep height. The horn, which is an ancient figure of 
victorious and defiant power in Deut. xxxiii. 17, 1 Sam. ii. 1, 
is found here applied to Jahve Himself: "horn of my salva- 
tion" is that which interposes on the side of my feebleness, 
conquers, and saves me. All these epithets applied to God 
are the fruits of the affliction out of which David's song 
has sprung, viz. his persecution by Saul, when, in a country 
abounding in rugged rocks and deficient in forest, he be- 
took himself to the rocks for safety, and the mountains 
served him as his fortresses. In the shelter which the 
mountains, by their natural conformations, afforded him at 

described by Strabo, iri. 4, 21 ; the other calls to mind the Phffinici&n 
rocky island "VX , Sir (Tyre), the refuge in the sea. 

8. - ^ 

* In Arabic oLojo signifies (I) a high hill (a signification that 
is wanting in Freytag), (2) the summit of a mountain, and according 

to the original lexicons it belongs to the root Jl*oJo, which in out- 
ward appearance is supported by the synonymous forms Juauo and 
tVxii, ss also by their plurals sOua/>l and ^|«X^c, since these 

can only be properly formed from those singulars on the assumption 
of the si being part of the root Nevertheless , since the meanings of 

dJajo «iU distinctly point to its being formed from the root (jaj) 
contained in the reduplicated stem ya* to suck, but the meanings of 

oLox, (X^aJo, and Jl*ix do not admit of their being referred to it, 
and moreovor there are instances in which original tin. loci from w. 
med. « and ,c admit of the prefixed m being treated as the first 
radical through forgetfulness or disregard of their derivation, and with 
the retention of it form secondary roots (as /\jC-e, /jjuo, wojo), 
it is highly probable that in masdd, ma fad and matd we have an 
original "ISO, rrtfSD, Dtibd. These Hebrew words, however, are to be 
referred to a TiV in the signification to look out, therefore properly 
tpeeula. — Fleischer 

Digitized by 


254 PSALM XVI1L 5—7. 

that time, and in the fortunate accidents, which sometimes 
brought him deliverance when in extreme peril, David 
recognises only marvellous phenomena of which Jahve Him- 
self was to him the final cause. The confession of the God 
tried and known in many ways is continued in ver. 4 by a 
general expression of his experience. bbpiO is a predicate 
accusative to nirv: As one praised (worthy to be praised) 
do I call upon Jahve, — a rendering that is better suited 
to the following clause, which expresses confidence in the 
answer coinciding with the invocation, which is to bethought 
of as a cry for help, than Olshausen's, "Worthy of praise, 
do I cry, is Jahve", though this latter certainly is possible 
so far as the style is concerned (vid. on Isa. xlv. 24, cf. also 
Gen. iii. 3, Mic. ii. 6). The proof of this fact, viz. that 
calling upon Him who is worthy to be praised, who, as the 
history of Israel shews, is able and willing to help, is imme- 
diately followed by actual help, as events that are coinci- 
dent, forms the further matter of the Psalm. 

Vers. 5 — 7. In these verses David gathers into one 
collective figure all the fearful dangers to which he had 
been exposed during his persecution by Saul, together with 
the marvellous answers and deliverances he experienced, 
that which is unseen, which stands in the relation to that 
which is visible of cause and effect, rendering itself visible 
to him. David here appears as passive throughout; the 
hand from out of the clouds seizes him and draws him out 
of mighty waters: while in the second part of the Psalm, in 
fellowship with God and under His blessing, he comes for- 
ward as a free actor. 

The description begins in vers. 5 — 7 with the danger 
and the cry for help which is not in vain. The verb F)BN 
according to a tradition not to be doubted (cf. ]D1« a wheel) 
signifies to go round, surround, as a poetical synonym of 
220, Fpjsri, "if)?, and not, as one might after the Arabic have 
thought: to drive, urge. Instead of "the bands of death,* 
the LXX. (cf. Acts ii. 24) renders it <L6tve« (constrictive 
pains) Oavaxou; but ver. 6b. favours the meaning bands, cords, 
cf. cxix. 61 (where it is likewise 'bzn instead of the ^zn, 
which one might have expected, Josh. xvii. 5, Job xxxvi. 8), 
death is therefore represented as a hunter with a cord and 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVIII. 8—10. 255 

net, xci.8. h%b2, compounded of ^3 and b$l (from ^y>, ^jn, 
root by), signifies unprofitableness, worthlessness, and in 
fact both deep-rooted moral corruption and also abysmal 
destruction (cf. 2 Cor. vi. 15, BeXietp — Bs>toX as a name 
of Satan and his kingdom). Rivers of destruction are those, 
whose engulfing floods lead down to the abyss of destruction 
(Jon. ii. 7). Death, Belijdal, and Shedl are the names of 
the weird powers, which make use of David's persecutors 
as their instruments. Futt. in the sense of imperfects alter* 
nate with prtett. nj?3 (-=■ oJb) signifies to come suddenly 
upon any one (but compare also oou, to startle, excitare, 
to alarm), and O^p, to rush upon; the two words are distin- 
guished from one another like tiberfallen and anfallen. The 
byi\ out of which Jahve hears is His heavenly dwelling- 
place, which is both palace and temple, inasmuch as He sits 
enthroned there, being worshipped by blessed spirits, yysb 
belongs to 'pyitfi: my cry which is poured forth before Him 
(as e. g. in cii. 1), for it is tautological if joined with ti3R 
beside VJWQ. Before Jahve's face he made supplication and 
his prayer urged its way into His ears. 

Vers. 8 — 10. As these verses go on to describe, the 
being heard became manifest in the form of deliverance. All 
nature stands to man in a sympathetic relationship, sharing 
his curse and blessing, his destruction and glory, and to 
God in a (so to speak) synergetic relationship, furnishing the 
harbingers and instruments of His mighty deeds. Accord- 
ingly in this instance Jahve's interposition on behalf of Da- 
vid is accompanied by terrible manifestations in nature. 
Like the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, Ps. lzviii. lxxvii., 
and the giving of the Law on Sinai, Exod. xix., and like 
the final appearing of Jahve and of Jesus Christ according 
the words of prophet and apostle (Hab. iii., 2 Thess. i. 7 
sq.), the appearing of Jahve for the help of David has also 
extraordinary natural phenomena in its train. It is true 
we find no express record of any incident in David's life of 
the kind recorded in 1 Sam. vii. 10, but it must be some 
real experience which David here idealises (t. e. seizes at 
its very roots, and generalises and works up into a grand 
majestic picture of his miraculous deliverance). Amidst 
earthquake, a black thunderstorm gathers, the charging of 

Digitized by 


256 PSALM XVIII. 8-lu. 

which is heralded by the lightning's flash, and its thick 
clouds descend nearer and nearer to the earth. The aorists 
in ver. 8 introduce the event, for the introduction of which, 
from ver. 4 onwards, the way has been prepared and to- 
wards which all is directed. The inward excitement of the 
Judge, who appears to His servant for his deliverance, sets 
the earth in violent oscillation. The foundations of the 
mountains (Isa. xxiv. 18) are that upon which they are sup- 
ported beneath and within, as it were, the pillars which sup- 
port the vast mass. BtyJ (rhyming with B>jn) is followed by 
the ffilhpa. of the same verb: the first impulse having been 
given they, viz. the earth and the pillars of the mountains, 
continue to shake of themselves. These convulsions occur, 
because "it is kindled with respect to God"; it is unneces- 
sary to supply 1SN, )h rnn is a synonym of 1^ en. When 
God is wrath, according to Old Testament conception, the 
power of wrath which is present in Him is kindled and blazes 
up and breaks forth. The panting of rage may accordingly 
also be called the smoke of the fire of wrath (lxxiv. 1, lxxx. 
5). The smoking is as the breathing out of the fire, and the 
vehement hot breath which is inhaled and exhaled through 
the nose of one who is angry (cf. Job xli. 12), is like smoke 
rising from the internal fire of anger. The fire of anger 
itself "devours out of the mouth*, t. e. flames forth out of 
the mouth, consuming whatever it lays hold of, — in men in 
the form of angry words, with God in the fiery forces of 
nature, which are of a like kind with, and subservient to, 
His anger, and more especially in the lightning's flash. It is 
the lightning chiefly, that is compared here to the blazing 
up of burning coals. The power of wrath in God, becoming 
manifest in action, breaks forth into a glow, and before it 
entirely discharges its fire, it gives warning of action like the 
lightning's flash heralding the outburst o€ the storm. Thus 
enraged and breathing forth His wrath, Jahve bowed the 
heavens, t*. e. caused them to bend towards the earth, and 
came down, and darkness of clouds (^©"1J? similar in mean- 
ing to Sp<pvY), cf. ep&Po;) was under His feet: black, low- 
hanging clouds announced the coming of Him who in His 
wrath was already on His way downwards towards the earth. 
Vers. 11—13. The storm, announcing the approaching 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVIII. M—13. 257 

outburst of the thunderstorm, was also the forerunner of 
the Avenger and Deliverer. If we compare ver. 1 1 with civ. 
3, it is natural to regard 3-n3 as a transposition of son (a 
chariot, Ew. § 153,a). But assuming a relationship between 
the biblical Cherub and (according to Ctesias) the Indo-Per- 
8ian griffin, the word (from the Zend grab, garem, garefsh, 
to seize) signifies a creature seizing and holding irrecover- 
ably fast whatever it seizes upon; perhaps in Semitic lang- 
uage the strong creature, from 3"13 — ^jS torquere, con- 
itringere, (whence mukrab, tight, strong). It is a passive 
form like 7133, ID', 16*13^. The cherubim are mentioned in 
Gen. iii. 24 as the guards of Paradise (this alone is enough 
to refute the interpretation recently revived in the Evang. 
Kirchen-Zeit., 1866, No. 46, that they are a symbol of the 
unity of the living One, 31*13 — 31*13 "like a multitude" 1), 
and elsewhere, as it were, as the living mighty rampart and 
vehicle of the approach of the inaccessible majesty of God; 
and they are not merely in general the medium of God's 
personal presence in the world, but more especially of the 
presence of God as turning the fiery side of His doxa to- 
wards the world. As in the Prometheus of JSschylus, Oce- 
anus comes flying -civ irtepofcDXT) t6v5' oltoviv ?v«b|tfQ <rro|i(u)v 
axsp eiSuvoov, so in the present passage Jahve rides upon the 
cherub, of which the heathenish griffin is a distortion; or, 
if by a comparison of passages like civ. 3, Isa. lxvi. 15, we 
understand David according to Ezekiel, He rides upon the 
cherub as upon His living throne -chariot (D231D). The 
throne floats upon the cherubim, and this cherub-throne 
flies upon the wings of the wind; or, as we can also say: the 
cherub is the celestial spirit working in this vehicle formed 
of the spirit-like elements. The Manager of the chariot is 
Himself hidden behind the thick thunder-clouds. rite* is an 

V T 

aorist without the consecutive i (cf. "|> Hos. vi. 1). tjkTi is 
the accusative of the object to it; and the accusative of the 
predicate is doubled: His covering, His pavilion round about 
Him. In Job xxxvi. 29 also the thunder-clouds are called 
God's nsp, and also in xcvii. 2 they are V3'3D, concealing 
Him on all sides and announcing only His presence when 
He is wroth. In ver. 12ft the accusative of the object, 'Ufa, is 
expanded into "darkness of waters", i. e. swelling with 

VOL. L 17 

Digitized by 


258 PSALM XVIII. 14—16. 

waters* and billows of thick vapour, thick, and therefore 
dark, masses (ay in its primary meaning of denseness, or a 
thicket, Exod. xix. 9, cf. Jer. iv. 29) of Cents', which is here 
a poetical name for fleecy clouds. The dispersion and dis- 
charge, according to ver. 13, proceeded from HjJ HJi . Such 
is the expression for the doxa of God as being a mirroring 
forth of His nature, as it were, over against Him, as being 
therefore His brightness, or the reflection of His glory. The 
doxa is fire and light. On this occasion the forces of wrath 
issue from it, and therefore it is the fiery forces: heavy and 
destructive hail (cf. Exod. ix. 23 sq., Isa. xxx. 30) and fiery 
glowing coals, i. e. flashing and kindling lightning. The 
object V3jj stands first, because the idea of clouds, behind 
which, according to ver. 11, the doxa in concealed, is pro- 
minently connected with the doxa. It might be rendered: 
before His brightness His clouds turn into hail . . . , a 
rendering which would be more in accordance with the 
structure of the stichs, and is possible according to Ges. 
§ 138, rem. 2. Nevertheless, in connection with the com- 
bination of "Oy with clouds, the idea of breaking through 
(Lam. iii. 44) is very natural. If V3JJ is removed, then nay 
signifies "thence came forth hail ... * But the mention of 
the clouds as the medium, is both natural and appropriate. 
Vers. 14 — 16. Amidst thunder, Jahve hurled lightnings 
as arrows upon David's enemies, and the breath of His anger 
laid bare the beds of the flood to the very centre of the 
earth, in order to rescue the sunken one. Thunder is the 
rumble of God, and as it were the hollow murmur of His 
mouth, Job xxxvii. 2. JV^JJ, the Most High, is the name of 
God as the inapproachable Judge, who governs all things. 
The third line of ver. 14 is erroneously repeated from the 
preceding strophe. It cannot be supported on grammatical 
grounds by Ex. ix. 23, since b\p |na, edere vocem, has a dif- 
ferent meaning from the rfrj? jW, dare tonitrua, of that pas- 
sage. The symmetry of the strophe structure is also against 
it; and it is wanting both in 2 Sam. and in the LXX. 3T, 

* Rab Dimi, B. Taanith 10a, for the elucidation of the passage 
quotes a Palestine proverb: 'DID fUD UJy TTBfn VTO p'jn yjy lin) 
1. e. if the clouds are transparent they will yield but little water, if they 
are dart they will yield a quantity. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVIII. 16—17. 259 

which, as the opposite of tsyo Neh. ii. 12, Isa. x. 7, means 
adverbially "in abundance", is the parallel to Fibvfa. It is 
generally taken, after the analogy of Gen. xlix. 23, in the 
sense of p"12, cxliv. 6: 3"i in pause =» zh (the b passing over 
into the broader a like lj? instead of ty in Gen. xlix. 3) -= 
32"1, cognate with na^, HD^; but the forms 3D, 12D, here, and 
in every other instance, have but a very questionable exist- 
ence, as e. g. 3*1, Isa. liv. 13,' is more probably an adjective 
than the third person prcet. (cf. Bottcher, Neue Aehrenlese 
No. 635, 1066). The suffixes em do not refer to the arrows, 
i. e. lightnings, but to David's foes. Don means both to 
put in commotion and to destroy by confounding, Exod. 
xiv. 24, xxiii. 27. In addition to the thunder, the voice of 
Jahve, comes the stormwind, which is the snorting of the 
breath of His nostrils. This makes the channels of the wa- 
ters visible and lays bare the foundations of the earth. p'BN 
(collateral form to j?QN) is the bed of the river and then the 
river or brook itself, a coniinendo aquas (Ges.), and exactly 
like the Arabic mesik, mesdk, mesek (from viJLuc, the VI. 
form of which, tamdsaka, corresponds to pCKDH), means a 
place that does not admit of the water soaking in, but on 
account of the firmness of the soil preserves it standing or 
flowing. What are here meant are the water - courses or 
river beds that hold the water. It is only needful for Jahve 
to threaten (Jirttijrav Mat. viii. 26) and the floods, in which 
he, whose rescue is undertaken here, is sunk, flee (civ. 7) 
and dry up (cvi. 9, Nah. i. 4). But he is already half 
engulfed in the abyss of Hades, hence not merely the bed 
of the flood is opened up, but the earth is rent to its very 
centre. From the language being here so thoroughly alle- 
gorical, it is clear that we were quite correct in interpreting 
the description as ideal. He, who is nearly overpowered by 
bis foes, is represented as one engulfed in deep waters and 
almost drowning. 

Vers. 17 — 20. Then Jahve stretches out His hand from 
above into the deep chasm and draws up the sinking one. 
The verb n^B* occurs also in prose (2 Sam. vi. 6) without 
"} (lvii. 4, cf. on the other hand the borrowed passage, cxliv. 
7) in the signification to reach (after anything). The verb 
De^, however, is only found in one other instance, viz. 

Digitized by 


260 PSALM XVIU. J7-21. 

Exod. ii. 10, as the root (transferred from the Egyptian 
into the Hebrew) of the name of Moses, and even Luther 
saw in it an historical allusion, "He hath made a Moses of 
me", He hath drawn me out of great (many) waters, which 
had well nigh swallowed me up, as He did Moses out of the 
waters of the Nile, in which he would have perished. This 
figurative language is followed, in ver. 18, by its interpre- 
tation, just as in cxliv. 7 the "great waters* are explained 
by "153 'J3 td , which, however, is not suitable here, or at 
least is too limited. 

With ver. 17 the hymn has reached the climax of epie 
description, from which it now descends in a tone that be- 
comes more and more lyrical. In the combination TJJ "O^K, 
«j> is not an adverbial accusative, but an adjective, like 
T\y® IPfn cxliii. 10, and 6 AvJjp A^aM? (HebrSerbriefS. 353). 
13 introduces the reason for the interposition of the divine 
omnipotence, viz. the superior strength of the foe and the 
weakness of the oppressed one. On the day of his TX, i. e. 
(vid. on xxxi. 12) his load or calamity, when he was alto- 
gether a homeless and almost defenceless fugitive, they came 
upon him (Dip xvii. 13), cutting off all possible means of 
delivering himself, but Jahve became the fugitive's staff 
(xxiii. 4) upon which he leaned and kept himself erect. By 
the hand of God, out of straits and difficulties he reached a 
broad place, out of the dungeon of oppression to freedom, 
for Jahve had delighted in him, he was His chosen and be- 
loved one. ysn has the accent on the penult here, and 
Metheg as a sign of the lengthening (rnDJJH) beside the e, 
that it may not be read <?.* The following strophe tells 
the reason of his pleasing God and of His not allowing 
him to perish. This \3 ysn "O (for He delighted in me) now 
becomes the primary thought of the song. 

Vers. 21 — 24. On ^5! (like cb& with the accusative not 
merely of the thing, but also of the person, e. g. 1 Sam. 
xxiv. 18), e4 or xaxdk irp&cmv ttvd, vid. on vii. 5. *1D#, to 
observe => to keep, is used in the same way in Job xxii. 15. 

* In like manner Metheg is placed beside the 2 of the final closed 
syllable that has lost the tone in pgn xxii. 9, ^?.inFtt xc. 2., vid. ttaiak 
3. 594 note. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVIII. 21—28. 261 

]D yish is a pregnant expression of the maUtiosa desert io. 
"From God's side", i. e. in His judgment, would be contrary 
to the general usage of the language (for the jp in Job iv. 
17 has a different meaning) and would be but a chilling ad- 
dition. On the poetical form >3p, in pause <30, vid. Ew. 
§ 263,ft. The fut. in ver. 23ft, close after the substantival 
clause ver. 23a, is not intended of the habit in the past, but 
at the present time: he has not wickedly forsaken God, but 
(<3 •= imo, sed) always has God's commandments present 
before him as his rule of conduct, and has not put them far 
away out of his sight, in order to be able to sin with less 
compunction; and thus then (fut. consec.) in relation (cy, 
as in Deut. xviii. 13, cf. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5) to God he was 
OTOFi, with his whole soul undividedly devoted to Him, and he 
guarded himself against his iniquity (jijj, from DlJ?, <£+£■■> to 
twist, pervert, cf. ^ye of error, delusion, self- enlight- 
enment), i. e. not: against acquiescence in his in-dwelling 
sin, but: against iniquity becoming in any way his own; 
"OiSp equivalent to Viij|D (Dan. ix. 5), cf. 'jpp — than that 
I should live, Jon. iv. 8.' In this strophe, this Psalm strikes 
a cord that harmonises with Ps. xvii., after which it is there- 
fore placed. We may compare David's own testimony con- 
cerning himself in 1 Sam. xxvi. 23 sq., the testimony of 
God in 1 Kings xiv. 8, and the testimony of history in 1 
Kings xv. 5, xi. 4. 

Vers. 25. — 28. What was said in ver. 21 is again express- 
ed here as a result of the foregoing, and substantiated in 
vers. 26, 27. TOD is a friend of God and man, just as pius 
is used of behaviour to men as well as towards God. "QJ 
O^pn the man (construct of ~01) of moral and religious 
completeness (integri «=» integritatis, cf. xv. 2), i. e. of undi- 
vided devotion to God. 123 (instead of which we find "is 
32^ elsewhere, xxiv. 4, lxxiii. 1) not one who is purified, 
but, in accordance with the reflexive primary meaning of 
Niph., one who is purifying himself, A^viCcov &aox6v, 1 John 
iii. 3. c'jpy (the opposite of IB*) one who is morally distort- 
ed, perverse. Freely formed Hithpaels are used with these 
attributive words to give expression to the corresponding 
self-manifestation: "IDPim, CBFin (Ges. § 54, 2,6), "Tern, and 
^RCnn (to shew one's self ^ne: or Hvhr\B). The' fervent 

Digitized by 

Google ' 

262 PSALM XVIII, 29— 31. 

love of the godly man God requites with confiding lore, the 
entire submission of the upright with s full measure 'of 
grace, the endeavour after purity by an unbeclouded cha- 
rity (cf. Ixxiii. 1), moral perverseness by paradoxical judg- 
ments, giving the perverse over to his perverseness (Rom. i. 
28) and leading him by strange ways to final condemnation 
(Isa. xxix. 14, cf. Lev. xxvi. 23 sq.). The truth, which is 
here enunciated, is not that the conception which man forms 
of God is the reflected image of his own mind and heart, 
but that God's conduct to man is the reflection of the rela- 
tion in which man has placed himself to God; cf. 1 Sam. 
ii. 30, xv. 23. This universal truth is illustrated and sub- 
stantiated in ver. 28. The people who are bowed down by 
affliction experience God's condescension, to their salvation; 
and their haughty oppressors, God's exaltation, to their 
humiliation. Lofty, proud eyes are among the seven things 
that Jahve hateth, according to Prov. vi. 17. The judgment 
of God compels them to humble themselves with shame, Isa. 
ii. 11. 

Vers. 29 — 31. The confirmation of what has been as- 
serted is continued by David's application of it to himself. 
Hitzig translates the futures in vers. 29 sq. as imperfects; 
but the sequence of the tenses, which would bring this ren- 
dering with it, is in this instance interrupted, as it has been 
even in ver. 28, by '3. The lamp, "u (contracted from na- 
wer), is an image of life, which as it were burns on and on, 
including the idea of prosperity and high rank ; in the form 
")>3 (from niwr, nijr) it is the usual figurative word for the 
continuance of the house of David, 1 Kings xi. 36, and fre- 
quently. David's life and dominion, as the covenant king, 
is the lamp which God's favour has lighted for the well- 
being -of Israel, and His power will not allow this lamp 
(2 Sam. xxi. 17) to be quenched. The darkness which breaks 
in upon David and his house is always lighted up again by 
Jahve. For His strength is mighty in the weak ; in, with, and 
by Him he can do all things. The fut. pN may be all the 
more surely derived frompyn (= y'TN), inasmuch as this verb 
has the changeable u in the future also in Isa. xlii. 4, Eccl. 
xii. 6. The text of 2 Sam. xxii., however, certainly seemt 
to put "rushing upon" in the stead of "breaking down". With 

Digitized by 



ver. 31 the first half of the hymn closes epiphonematically. 
^$n is a nom. absoh, like "WSTl, Deut. xxxii. 4. This old 
Mosaic utterance is re-echoed here, as in 2 Sam. vii. 22, in 
the mouth of David. The article of b$T\ points to God as 
being manifest in past history. His way is faultless and blame- 
less. His word is nDTiS, not slaggy ore, but purified solid 
gold, xii. 7. Whoever retreats into Him, the God of the pro- 
mise, is shielded from every danger. Prov. xxx. 5 is borrow- 
ed from this passage. 

Vers. 32 — 35. The grateful description of the tokens 
of favour he has experienced takes a new flight, and is con- 
tinued in the second half of the Psalm in a more varied and 
less artificial mixture of the strophes. What is said in ver. 
31 of the way and word of Jahve and of Jahve Himself, is 
confirmed in ver. 32 by the fact that He alone is Ft6n, a 
divine being to be reverenced, and He alone is "lis, a rock, 
i. e. a ground of confidence that cannot be shaken. What 
is said in ver. 31 consequently can be said only of Him. 
Hj6?p and inbv alternate; the former (with a negative 
intensive jo) signifies "without reference to" and then ab- 
solutely "without" or besides, and the latter (with i as a 
connecting vowel, which elsewhere has also the function of 
a suffix), from nblT (!"6iT), "exception". The verses imme- 
diately following are attached descriptively to Wlfyjt, our 
God (t. e. the God of Israel), the God, who girded me with 
strength; and accordingly (/"«/. consec.) made my way DV2F, 
"perfect", i. e. absolutely smooth, free from stumblings and 
errors, leading straight forward to a divine goal. The idea 
is no other than that in ver. 31, cf. Job xxii. 3, except that 
the freedom from error here is intended to be understood in 
accordance with its reference to the way of a man, of a king, 
and of a warrior; cf., moreover, the other text. The verb 

nits' signifies, like ^Z*, to make equal (cequare), to arrange, 

to set right; the dependent passage Hab. iii. 19 has, in- 
stead of this verb, the more uncoloured Ctt'. The hind, 
p£'N or nj?JK| is the perfection of swiftness (cf. eXct<po« and 
sXacpp6;) and also of gracefulness among animals. "Like 
the hinds" is equivalent to like hinds' feet; the Hebrew style 
leaves it to the reader to infer the appropriate point of 

Digitized by 


264 PSALM XVIII. 36—37. 

comparison from the figure. It is not swiftness in flight 
(De Wette), but in attack and pursuit that is meant, — 
the latter being a prominent characteristic of warriors, 
according to 2 Sam. i. 23, ii. 18, 1 Chron. xii. 8. David 
does not call the high places of the enemy, which he has 
made his own by conquest "my high places", but those heights 
of the Holy Land which belong to him as king of Israel: 
upon these Jahve preserves him a firm position, so that 
from them he may rule the land far and wide, and hold 
them victoriously (cf. passages like Deut. xxxii. 13, Isa. lviii. 
14). The verb ~1B^, which has a double accusative in other 
instances, is here combined with ^ of the subject taught, aa 
the aim of the teaching. The verb nro (to press down — 
to bend a bow) precedes the subject "my arms" in the sin- 
gular; this inequality is admissible even when the subject 
stands first (e. g. Gen. xlix. 22, Joel i. 20, Zech. vi. 14). 
nt£*im nB'p a bow of brazen — of brass, as in Job xx. 24. 
It is also the manner of heroes in Homer and in the Rama- 
jana to press down and bend with their hand a brazen bow, 
one end of which rests on the ground. 

Vers. 36 — 37. Yet it is not the brazen bow in itself 
that makes him victorious, but the helpful strength of his 
God. "Shield of Thy salvation" is that consisting of Thy 
salvation, jjp has an unchangeable a, as it has always. The 
salvation of Jahve covered him as a shield, from which 
every stroke of the foe rebounded; the right hand of Jahve 
supported him that his hands might not become feeble in 
the conflict. In its ultimate cause it is the divine ni Jg, to which 
he must trace back his greatness, i. e. God's lowliness, by 
virtue of which His eyes look down upon that which is on 
the earth (cxiii. 6), and the poor and contrite ones are His 
favourite dwelling-place (Isa. lvii. 15, lxvi. 1 sq.); cf. B. 
Megilla 31 o, "wherever Scripture testifies of the miaa of the 
Holy One, blessed be He, it gives prominence also, in con- 
nection with it, to His condescension, WijnJjf, as in Deut. 
x. 17 and in connection with it ver. 18, Isa. lvii. 15a and 
15 J, Ps. lxviii. 5 and 6". The rendering of Luther, who 
follows the LXX. and Vulgate, "When Thou humblest me, 
Thou makest me great" is opposed by the fact that nog 
means the bending of one's self, and not of another. What 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVIII. 38—41. 265 

is intended is, that condescension of God to mankind, and 
especially to the house of David, which was in operation, 
with an ultimate view to the incarnation, in the life of the 
son of Jesse from the time of his anointing to his death, viz. 
the divine xp^^ty)? xal <piXav6pa>itta (Tit. iii. 4), which elect- 
ed the shepherd boy to be king, and did not cast him off 
even when he fell into sin and his infirmities became mani- 
fest. To enlarge his steps under any one is equivalent to 
securing him room for freedom of motion (cf. the opposite 
form of expression in Prov. iv. 12). Jahve removed the 
obstacles of his course out of the way, and steeled his ankles 
so that he stood firm in fight and endured till he came 
off victorious. The prcet. njJD substantiates what, without 
any other indication of it, is required by the consecutio 
temporum, viz. that everything here has a retrospective 

Vers. 38 — 41. Thus in God's strength, with the armour 
of God, and by God's assistance in fight, he smote, cast 
down, and utterly destroyed all his foes in foreign and in 
civil wars. According to the Hebrew syntax the whole of 
this passage is a retrospect. The imperfect signification of 
the futures in vers. 38, 39 is made clear from the aorist 
which appears in rer. 40, and from the perfects and futures 
in what follows it. The strophe begins with an echo of 
Exod. xv. 9 (cf. supra vii. 6). The poet calls his oppo- 
nents 'Op, as in ver. 49, xliv. 6, lxxiv. 23, cf. wrjpp Job xxii. 
20, inasmuch as Dip by itself has the sense of rising up in 
hostility and consequently one can say '££ instead of 
ty O'DjS (C'Dlp 2 Kings xvi. 7).* The frequent use of this 
phrase (<?. g. xxxvi. 13, Lam. i. 14) shews that Dip in ver. 
39a does not mean "to stand (resist)", but "to rise (again)." 
The phrase ryyp jPJ, however, which in other passages has 
those fleeing as its subject (2 Chron. xxix. 6), is here differ- 
ently applied: Thou gavest, or madest me mine enemies ft 

* In the language of the Beduins kdm is war, fend, and kdmSnt 
(denominative from kdm) my enemy (hostis) ; kdm also has the significa- 
tion of a collective of lfdmant, and one can equally well say: entum ma- 
ifdnd kdm, you and we are enemies, and : benatna k,dm, there is war be* 
tw«en «w. 

Digitized by 


266 PSALM XVIII. 42—45. 

back, i. e. those who turn back, as in Exod. xxiii. 27. From 
xxi. 13 (CD# lorvtS'n, Symm. ibltxz oitoJx; £iroo?pi<poo«) it be- 
comes clear that t)~ft is not an accusative of the member 
beside the accusative of the person (as e. g. in Deut. xzxiii. 
11), but an accusative of the factitive object according to 
Ges. § 139, 2. 

Vers. 42 — 43. Their prayer to their gods, wrung from 
them by their distress, and even to Jahve, was in vain, be- 
cause it was for their cause, and too late put up to Him. 
^j; — "?{<; in xlii. 2 the two prepositions are interchanged. 
Since we do not pulverize dust, but to dust, "ibjd is to be 
taken as describing the result: so that they became as dust 
(cf. Job xxxviii. 30, |3X3, so that it is become like stone, and 
the extreme of such pregnant brevity of expression in Isa. 
xli. 2) before the wind OjE^y as in 2 Chron. iii. 17, before 
the front). The second figure is to be explained differently: 
I emptied them out (Cj?>~W from p^H) like the dirt of the 
streets, i. e. not merely: so that they became such, but as one 
empties it out, — thus contemptuously, ignominiously and 
completely (cf. Isa. x. 6, Zech. x. 5). The LXX. renders it 
Xsavco from p"in (root p^ to stretch, make thin, cf. tendo 
tenuis, dehnen dunn); and the text of 2 Sam. xxii. presents 
the same idea in Cjjhk. 

Vers. 44 — 46. Thus victorious in God, David became 
what he now is, viz. the ruler of a great kingdom firmly 
establish both in home and foreign relations. With respect 
to the D>13 and the verb 'X^jsn which follows, Dj; '3n can 
only be understood of the conflicts among his own people, 
in which David was involved by the persecution of Saul 
and the rebellions of Absolom and Sheba the son of Bichri* 
and from which Jahve delivered him, in order to preserve 
him for his calling of world-wide dominion in accordance 
with the promise. We therefore interpret the passage ac- 
cording to Qy nns in Isa. xlix. 8., and DjrnJOp. in Isa. 
xxvi. 1 1 ; whereas the following Qg comes to have a foreign 
application by reason of the attributive clause 'P<yr~t6 
(Ges. § 123, 3). The Niph. yctfj in ver. 45 is the reflexive 
of j?CBf, to obey (e. g. Ex. xxiv. 7), and is therefore to be 
rendered: shew themselves obedient (— Ithpa. in Dan. vii. 
27). jTfc JWl^ implies more than that they obeyed at the 

Digitized by 


PSALM XVIII. 45 - 47. i(,7 

word; ye# means information, rumour, and |lk jJCB'is the 
opposite of personal observation (Job xlii. 5), it is there- 
fore to be rendered: they submitted even at the tidings of 
my victories ; and 2 Sam. viii. 9 sq. is an example of this. 
ttfTD to lie, disown, feign, and flatter, is used here, as it is 
frequently, of the extorted humility which the vanquished 
shew towards the conqueror. Ver. 46 completes the picture 
of the reason of the sons of a foreign country "putting a 
good face on a bad game". They faded away, i. e. they be- 
came weak and faint-hearted (Ex xviii. 18), incapable of 
holding out against or breaking through any siege by Da- 
vid, and trembled, surrendering at discretion, out of their 
close places, i. e. out of their strongholds behind which they 
had shut themselves in (cf. cxlii. 8). The signification of 
being alarmed, which in this .instance, being found in com- 
bination with a local id, is confined to the sense of terrified 

flight, is secured to the verb J"T| by the Arabic Z.J*- (root 

_»., of audible pressure, crowding, and the like) to be press- 
ed, crowded, tight, or narrow, to get in a strait, and the 
Targumic ttrMT] K|*p — NDlDn Nno'N (vid. the Targums on 
Dent, xxxii. 25). J^ to limp, halt, which is compared 
by Hitzig, is far removed as to the sound; and the most na- 
tural, but colourless r y±, to go out of (according to its 

radical meaning — cf. •;*&.> c*^- &c. — : to break forth, 

erumpere), cannot be supported in Hebrew or Aramaic. The 
W"P found in the borrowed passage in Micah, ch. vii. 17, 
favours our rendering. 

Vers. 47 — 49. The hymn now draws towards the end 
with praise and thanksgiving for the multitude of God's 
mighty deeds, which have just been displayed. Like the 
0"WiO ^1*13 which is always doxological, 'n 'n (vivus Jahve) 
is meant as a predicate clause, but is read with the accent 
of an exclamation just as in the formula of an oath, which 
is the same expression; and in the present instance it has a 
doxological meaning. Accordingly nnjl also signifies "ex- 
alted be," in which sense it is written oti (dim — o-pi) in 
the other text. There are three doxological utterances 
drawn from the events which have just been celebrated in 

Digitized by 


2C8 PSALM XVIIL 48—51. 

song. That which follows, from b$T\ onwards, describes 
Jahve once more as the living, blessed (euXo-pjT^v), and ex- 
alted One, which He has shewn Himself to be. From "I3T5 
we see that |nl3n is to be resolved as an imperfect. The 
proofs of vengeance, fflCfO, are called God's gift, insofar as 
He has rendered it possible to him to punish the attacks 
upon his own dignity and the dignity of his people, or to 
witness the punishment of such insults (e. g. in the case of 
Nabal); for divine vengeance is a securing by punishment 
(vindicatio) of the inviolability of the right. It is question- 
able whether ^2"TH (synonym "m, cxliv. 2) here and in 
xlvii. 4 [means "to bring to reason" as an intensive of TPj, 
to drive (Ges.); the more natural meaning is "to turn the 
back" according to the Arabic adbara (Hitzig), cf. dabar, 
dabre, flight, retreat; dabira to be wounded behind; medb&r, 
wounded in the back. The idea from which T3"in gains the 
meaning "to subdue" is that of flight, in which hostile na- 
tions, overtaken from behind, sank down under him (xlv. 
6); but the idea that is fully worked out in cxxix. 3, Isa. 
li. 23, is by no means remote. With 'tS^DD the assertion takes 
the form of an address. jo con does not differ from ix. 14: 
Thou liftest me up away from mine enemies, so that I hover 
above them and triumph over them. The climactic rjx, of 
which poetry is fond, here unites two thoughts of a like im- 
port to give intensity of expression to the one idea. The 
participle is followed by futures: his manifold experience is 
concentrated in one general ideal expression. 

Vers. 50 — 51. The praise of so blessed a God, who acta 
towards David as He has promised him, shall not be con- 
fined within the narrow limits of Israel. When God's 
anointed makes war with the sword upon the heathen, it is, 
in the end, the blessing of the knowledge of Jahve for which 
he opens up the way, and the salvation of Jahve, which he 
thus mediatorially helps on. Paul has a perfect right to 
quote ver. 50 of this Psalm (Rom. xv. 9), together with Deut. 
xxxii. 43 and Ps. cxvii. 1, as proof that salvation belongs 
to the Gentiles also, according to the divine purpose of 
mercy. What is said in ver. 51 as the reason and matter of 
the praise that shall go forth beyond Israel, is an echo of 
the Messianic promises in 2 Sam. vii. 12 — 16 which is per* 

Digitized by 


J SAM. XXII. 269 

fectly reconcileable with the Davidic authorship of the 
Psalm, as Hitzig acknowledges. And Theodoret does not 
wrongly appeal to the closing words oHjr~JJ against the 
Jews. In whom, hut in Christ, the son of David, has the 
fallen throne of David any lasting continuance, and in whom, 
but in Christ, has all that has been promised' to the seed 
of David eternal truth and reality? The praise of Jahve, 
the God of David, His anointed, is, according to its ultimate 
import, a praising of the Father of Jesus Christ. 


On the differences of the introductory superscription, 
see on xviii. 1. The relation of the prose accentuation of 
the Psalm in 2 Sam. xxii. to the poetical accentuation in 
the Psalter is instructive. Thus, for example, instead of 
Mercha mahpach. (Oletvejored) in the Psalter we here find 
Athnach; instead of the Athnach following upon Mercha mah- 
pach., here is Zakeph (cf. xviii. 7, 16, 31 with 2 Sam. xxii. 
7, 16, 31); instead of Rebia mugrash, here Tiphcha (cf. xviii. 
4 with 2 Sam. xxii. 4); instead of Pazer at the beginning of 
a verse, here Athnach (cf. Ps. xviii. 2 with 2 Sam. xxii. 2).* 
The peculiar mode of writing the stichs, in which we find 
this song in our editions, is the old traditional mode. If 
a half-line is placed above a half-line, so that they form 
two columns, it is called nn« ^J-ty rP"IN HS 1 ? why Disb, 
brick upon brick, a half-brick upon a half-brick, as the song 
Haazinu in Deut. xxxii. is set out in our editions. On the 
other hand if the half-lines appear as they do here divided 
and placed in layers one over another, it is called rviN 
TV~)K 121-by n;:^1 ~»^> izrhy. According to Megitta 16& all 
the cantica in the Scriptures are to be written thus; and 
according to So/rim xiii., Ps. xviii. has this form in common 
with 2 Sam. xxii. 

Vers. 2 — 4. This strophe is stunted by the falling awaj 
of its monostichic introit, xviii. 2. In consequence of this, 
the vocatives in vers. 2 sq. are deprived of their support 

* Vid. Baer's Accenlsystem xv., and Thorath Emcth iii. 2 together 
with S. 44, Anm. 

Digitized by 



and lowered to substantival clauses: Jahve is my Rock, &c, 
which form no proper beginning for a hymn. Instead of 
'tSvBDl we have, as in cxliv. 2, ^~>J2^BOi; and instead of 
nix "6x we find n.ix Tihtt , which is contrary to the usual 
manner of arranging these emblematical names. The loss 
the strophe sustains is compensated by the addition : and my 
Refuge, my Saviour, who savest me from violence. In ver. 46 as 
in ver. 496 the non-assimilated jO (cf. ver. 14, xxx. 4, lxxiii. 
19) is shortened into an assimilated one. May "b perhaps 
be the remains of the obliterated ^N, and i ri' I 7N, as it were, 
the clothing of the nix which was then left tod bare? 

Vers. 5 — 7. The connection of this strophe with the 
preceding by >3 accords with the sense, but is tame. On the 
other hand, the reading nittto instead of >j?2n (eTen though 
the author of cxvi. 3 may have thus read it) is commended 
by the parallelism, and by the fact, that now the latter 
figure is not repeated in vers. 5, 6. nat^O are not neces- 
sarily waves that break upon the shore, but may also be 
such as break one upon another, and consequently iJiDDN" 
is not inadmissible. The l of ^roi, which is not wanted, 
is omitted. Instead of the fuller toned form 'O'CSO, which 
is also more commensurate with the closing cadence of the 
verse, we have here the usual syncopated 'ji2D (cf. cxviii. 
11). The repetition of the tOjpN (instead of JTiK'g) is even 
more unpoetical than the repetition of "hlT\ would be. On 
the other hand, it might originally have been jaat^l instead 
of yG!&\\ without 1 it is an expression (intended retrospec- 
tively) cf what takes place simultaneously, with i it expresses 
the principal fact. The concluding line YOKO , 0^1B'l is 
stunted: the brief substantival clause is not meaningless 
(cf. Job xv. 21, Isa. t. 9), but is only a fragment of the 
more copious, fuller toned conclusion of the strophe which 
we find in the Psalter. 

Vers. 8 — 10. The Keri here obliterates the significant 
alternation of the Kal and Hiihpa. of c'jH. Instead of nplDl 
we have the feminine form of the plural nnfflD (as in both 
texts in ver. 16) without \. Instead of the genitive onn, by 
an extension of the figure, we have D'DK'D (cf. the pillars, 
Job xxvi. 11), which is not intended of the mountains as of 
Atlasses, as it were, supporting the heavens, but of the points 

Digitized by 


2 8AM. XXII. J— 16. 271 

of support and central points of the heavens themselves: 
the whole universe trembles. 

Vers. 11 — 13. Instead of the pictorial m*\ (Deut. 
xxviii. 49, and hence in Jeremiah), which is generally used 
of the flight of the eagle, we have the plain, uncoloured 
tn*i He appeared. Instead of ntSfy which is intended as an 
aorist, we meet the more strictly regular, hut here, where 
so many aorists with 1 come together, less poetical ntfji. In 
ver. 12a the rise and fall of the parallel members has grown 
over till it forms one heavy clumsy line: And made darkness 
round about Him a pavilion (ni2D). But the An. Xey. rntttli 
to which the signification of a "massive gathering together* 
is secured by the Arabic, is perhaps original. The word 
y&A., frequently used in the Koran of assembling to judg- 
ment, with the radical signification stipare, cogere (to crowd 
together, compress) which is also present in .-**&., ^il*., 
iU», is here used like &Yetpetv in the Homeric vstpeXT^epita 
(the cloud-gatherer).* Ver. 13 is terribly mutilated. Of 
1 ma my V2y of the other text there are only the four 
letters njG (as in ver. 9c) left. 

Vers. 14 — 16. Instead of OJTF1 we find 0}H\ which is 
less admissible here, where a principal fact is related and 
the description is drawing nearer and nearer to its goal. 
Instead of 0?Cltf")B the other text has D;ptt*3 ; in xxx. 4 also, 
TO is retained without being assimilated before uf. But the 
fact, however, that the line B'&pjjnJl "na is wanting, is a 
proof, which we welcome, that it is accidentally repeated 
from the preceding strophe, in the other text. On the other 
hand, D'SPI is inferior to V2n; 3T O'p/JDI is corrupted into 
a tame p"ia; and the Keri DiTjl erroneously assumes that the 
suffix of DlpEW refers to the arrows, i. e. lightnings. Again 
on the other hand, c 'pTN, channels of the sea, is perhaps 

* Midrash and Talmud explain it according to the Aramaic "a 
•training of the clouds", inasmuch as the clonds, like a sieve, let the 
drops trickle down to the earth, falling close upon each other and yet 
separately (B. Taanith 94: jrpnp 'arty D'D fffWriD). Kimchi com- 
bines "VCTTl with "ttfp. But the ancient Arabic , A .-» is the right key 
to the word. The root of TfijT] and ~5r'n is perhaps the same (cf. 
Exod. x. 21). 

Digitized by 



original ; o>o in this connection expresses too little, and, as 
being the customary word in combination with 'jTSK (xlii. 
2, Joel i. 20), may easily have been substituted after it. At 
any rate cr and S?P form a more exact antithesis, ibl 1 
instead of thin is the same in meaning. The close of the 
strophe is here also weakened by the obliteration of the 
address to God : by (3 instead of the o of the other text) 
the threatening of Jahve, at the snorting of His breath of anger. 
The change of the preposition in this surge (so-to-speak) 
of the members of the Terse is rather interruptive than 

Vers. 17 — 20. The variant ix&n instead of onipdi is 
unimportant; but n?tfp instead of ]]$lteb, for a support, is 
less pleasing both as it regards language and rhythm. The 
resolution of wsvi into 'Ph . . . Kp\ is a clumsy and need- 
less emphasising of the me. 

Vers. 21 — 24. Instead of ^fHiD, we fi n< * Tin?? here 
and in ver. 25, contrary to usage of the language of the 
Psalms (cf. vii. 9 with 1 King viii. 32). Instead of the poe- 
tical ^D TCN (Job xxvii. 5, xxiii. 12) we have D2ap ~NDK 
(with the fern, used as a neuter), according to the common 
phrase in 2 Kings iii. 3, and frequently (cf. Deut. v. 32). 
Instead of On, the not less (e. g. cii. 8) usual POtt; and 
instead of "isPBtol, the form with ah of direction which 
occurs very frequently with the first person of the fut. con- 
vers. in the later Hebrew, although it does also occur even 
in the older Hebrew (iii. 6, vii. 5, Gen. xxxii. 6, Job xix. 
20). And instead of lajj we find )b, which does not com- 
mend itself, either as a point of language or of rhythm; and 
by comparison with vers. 26, 27, it certainly is not original. 

Vers. 25—28. On 'Ppnsa see ver. 21. niS is without 
example, since elsewhere (0?B?) 0?"V "fa is the only expres- 
sion for innocence. In the equally remarkable expression 
O^P 1l2| (the upright "man of valour"), "naj is used just as 
in the expression ^>ti "flaj.. The form 12PP, has only the 
sound of an assimilated Hilhpa. like CBPP (= CDPPP), and 
is rather a reflexive of the Hiph. nan after the manner of 
the Aramaic Iltaphal (therefore — "naPP); and the form 
t>£PP sounds altogether like a Hilhpa. from ^EP (thou 
shewest thyself insipid, absurd, foolish), but — since nSsP 

Digitized by 


2 SAM. XXII. 17—32. 273 

cannot be ascribed to God (Job i. 22), and is even unseemly 
as an expression — appears to be treated likewise as an 
Ittaphal with a kind of inverted assimilation = bnEnnn 
(Bottcher). They are contractions such as are sometimes 
allowed by the dialect of the common people, though con- 
trary to all rules, rw instead of '3 at the beginning of 
ver. 28 changes what is confirmatory into a mere continuation 
of the foregoing. One of the most sensible variations is the 
change of niDI O'3'JJI to D'DV^y 1>J'jn. The rendering: And 
Thine eyes (are directed down) upon the haughty that Thou 
mayst bring (them) low (Stier, Hengst., and others), violates 
the accentuation and is harsh so far as the language is 
concerned (^SB'Fl for Dj>*5Bfi"6). Hitzig renders it, accord- 
ing to the accents : And Thou lowerest Thine eyes against 
the proud, oyj? ^BtsTl = 0'3B ^ED (Jer. iii. 12). But one 
would expect 3 instead of b]l , if this were the meaning. It 
is better to render it according to Ps. cxiii. 6: And Thou 
dost cast down Thine eyes upon the haughty, in which render- 
ing the haughty are represented as being far beneath Jahve 
notwithstanding their haughtiness, and the "casting down 
or depressing of the eyes" is an expression of the utmost 
contempt (despectus). 

Vers. 29—31. Here in ver. 29a "wn has been lost, for 
Jahve is called, and really is, UN in xxvii. 1, but not 13. 
The form of writing tj is an incorrect wavering between 
13 and 1>3. The repetition ni!"P1 m!T, by which the loss of 
1W1, and of Ti^H in ver. 29&, is covered, is inelegant. We 
have i"D3 here instead of ?]2, as twice besides in the Old 
Testament. The form of writing plN, as Isa. xlii. 4 shews, 
does not absolutely require that we should derive it from 
pi; nevertheless pi can be joined with the accusative just 
as well as i\i, in the sense of running against, rushing upon; 
therefore, since the parallelism is favourable, it is to be 
rendered: by Thee I rush upon a troop. The omission of the 
1 before ">TThx2 is no improvement to the rhythm. 

Vers. 32 — 35. The variety of expression in ver. 32 which 
has been preserved in the other text is lost here. Instead 
of ^!0 VHNOO we find, as if from a faded MS., ^n MljJO 
(according to Norzi MU'O) my refuge (lit. hiding) of strength, 
i. e. my strong refuge , according to a syntactically more 

VOL. I. 18 

Digitized by 


274 PSALM XVm. 

elegant style of expression (= Wl ItyD 'Tiya), like lxxi. 7, 
Lev. vi. 3, xxvi. 42; vid. Nagelsbach § 63, g, where it is 
correctly shewn, that this mode of expression is a matter of 
necessity in certain instances.* The form of writing, ipyo, 
seems here to recognise a flyo, a hiding-place, refuge, = 
<Mjm>, which is different from Tjtt a fortress (from 7?$)); but 
just as in every other case the punctuation confuses the two 
substantives (vid. on xxxi. 3), so it does even here, since 
Jljm, from nj>, ought to be inflected wyo, like ^Q"0O, and not 
WJJO. Nevertheless the plena scriptio may avail to indicate 
to us, that here fljJD is intended to be a synonym of npnp. 
Instead of ("OVl D^Dn) jtVl we have "irw here; perhaps it is 
He let, or caused, my way to be spotless, i". e. made it such. 
Thus Ewald renders it by referring to the modern Arabic 

Aj> to let, cause [Germ, lassen, French faire] — to make, 

effect; even the classic ancient Arabic language uses Jj" 

(lassen) in the sense of Jjl*. (to make), e. g. "I have made 

(ojj) the sword my camp-companion", i. e. my inseparable 

attendant (lit. I have caused it to be such), as it is to be 
translated in Noldecke's Beilrage zur Kenntniss der Poesie 
der alien Araber, S. 131.** Or does TRH retain its full and 

• In the present instance '^n T1J>0, like ^J! HDriD in lxxi. 7 (cf. 
Ezek. xvi. 27, xviii. 7, and perhaps Hab. iii. 8) would not be inadmis- 
sible, although in the other mode of expression greater prominence is 
given to the fact of its being provided and granted by God. But in 
cases like the following it would he absolutely inadmissible to append 
the suffix to the nom. rectum, viz. "Ij^'Njfr xxxviii. 20; 3pJ£ 'C 1 ^? 
my covenant with Jacob, Lev. xxvi. 42; "P TOD his garment of linen. 
Lev. vi. 3; DVSrrntSn D^ri3 their ancestral register, Ezra ii. 62; and 
it is probable that this transference of the pronominal suffix to the 
nom. regent originated in instances like these, where it was a logical 
necessary and then became transferred to the syntax ornata. At the same 
time it is clear from this, that in cases like *l£tf VJ^ty and conse- 
quently also Din 'W 1 ©, the second notion is not conceived as an accu- 
sative of more precise definition, but as a governed genitive. 

•• Ibid. S. 133, Z. 13 is, with Fleischer, to be rendered: ye have 
made (»x5lj') my milk camels restless, i. e. caused them to be such, 
by having stolen them and driven them away so that they now yearc 
tfter home and their young ones. 

Digitized by 


2 SAM. XXII. 32—30. 275 

proper meaning "to unfetter"? This is more probable, since 
the usage of Hebrew shews no example of Tnn in the post- 
biblical signification "to allow, permit", which ought to form 
the transition to "to cause to be = to effect". Therefore 
we may compare on the contrary Koran ix. 15, challu sebi- 
lahum loose their way, i. e. let them go forth free, and render 
it : He unfettered, unbound, left to itself, let my way go on 
as faultless (unobstructed). Hitzig, following the Chelhib 
1D*n, renders it differently: "and made the upright skip on 
his way." But onsn beside I3"n is to be regarded at the 
outset as its predicate, and *vnn means "to cause to jump 
up", Hab. iii. 6, not "to skip along". Nevertheless, the 
Chethib 13T1, which, from the following Chef Mb yhi"), bears 
the appearance of being designed, at any rate seems to have 
understood onsn personally: He unfettered (expedif) the «p- 
right his way, making his feet like &c. The reading nrui in- 
stead of nnnjn, although admissible so far as the syntax is 
concerned (Ges. § 147,a), injures the flow of the rhythm. 

Vers. 36 — 37. The pentastich is stunted here by the 
falling away of the middle line of ver. 36 : and Thy right hand 
supported me. Instead of the expressive tjnij^i (and Thy 
condescension) we find here inJH£ which, in accordance with 
the usage of the language, does not mean Thy being low 
(Hengst.), but rather: Thy labour (Bottch.), or more securely: 
Thine answering, LXX. oitaxoT) («'. e. the actual help, where- 
with Thou didst answer my prayer). Instead of 'Finn we 
find, as also in vers. 40, 48, •onnt? with a verbal suffix, like 
"iy? in cxxxix. 11; it is perhaps an inaccuracy of the com- 
mon dialect, which confused the genitive and accusative 
suffix. But instances of this are not wanting even in the 
written language, Ges. § 103, rem. 3. 

Vers. 38 — 41. The cohortative PIBTW, as frequently, 
has the sense of a hypothetical antecedent, whether it refers 
to the present, as in cxxxix. 8, or to the past as in lxxiii. 16 
and here : in case J pursued. In the text in the Psalter it is 
CJPteM, here it is QTDUSfKI, by which the echo of Exod. xv. 
is obliterated. And after oni^D— IJ? how tautological is the 
Dv2tjn which is designed to compensate for the shortening 
of the verse 1 The verse, to wit, is shortened at the end, 
Cip "by T&l being transformed into potpi t&[. Instead of 


Digitized by 



1^5?, ^>B*l is not inappropriate. Instead of 'TYlNFn we find 
'3"IT$1, by a syncope that belongs to the dialect of the people, 
cf. £in for ^;nh Jer. ii. 36, F)^o for F)hjo Job xxxv. 11. Of 
the same kind is nnn — nnro, an apocope take from the 
mouths of the people, with which only TJ, Judg. xix. 11, if 
equivalent to "H 1 , can be compared. The conjunctive l of 
'tttiPDI stands here in connection with DD'DSN as a consec: 
my haters, whom I destroyed. The other text is altogether 
more natural, better conceived, and more elegant in this 

Vers. 42 — 43. Instead of IjnB* we have )y&], a substitu- 
tion which is just tolerable: they look forth for help, or even: 
they look up expectantly to their gods, Isa. xvii. 8, xxxi. 1. 
The two figurative expressions in ver. 43, however, appear 
here, in contrast with the other text, in a distorted form: 
And I pulverised them as the dust of the earth, as the mire of 
the street did I crush them, I trampled them down. The lively 
and expressive figure im '3D~fy "1BJO is weakened into 
■ptriDJC. Instead of Dp'"]N, we have the overloaded glos- 
sarial DJ?.j?"]N DJ91N. The former (root pn, "p, to break in 
pieces) is a word that is interchanged with the Dp^lN of the 
other text in the misapprehended sense of Dj3"ttt. The latter 
(root pi, to stretch, to make broad, thin, and compact) looks 
like a gloss of this cp~lN. Since one does not intentionally 
either crush or trample upon the dirt of the street nor tread 
it out thin or broad, we must in this instance take not mere- 
ly pN~1iJO but also msirrtO'ED as expressing the issue 
or result. 

Vers. 44 — 46. The various reading ""Bjj "»3n proceeds 
from the correct understanding, that "On refers to David's 
contentions within his kingdom. The supposition that my 
is a plur. apoc. and equivalent to D'BV, as it is to all appear- 
ance in cxliv. 2, and like ^o = D'|D xlv. 9, has no ground 
here. The reasonable variation "OTOEr) harmonises with nsv: 
Thou hast kept me (preserved me) for a head of the nations,j\z. 
by not allowing David to become deprived of the throne by 
civil foes. The two lines of ver. 45 are reversed, and not with- 
out advantage. The Hithpa. Wnrrv instead of the Piel Itfrp} 
(cf. lxvi. 3, lxxxi. 16) is the reflexive of the latter: they made 
themselves flatterers (cf. the Niph. Deut. xxxiii. 29: to she* 

Digitized by 


2 SAM. XXII. 40—51. 277 

themselves flattering, like the -lyDtS* which follows here, 
audientes se preestabant = obediebani). Instead of (]Th) j?ots6 
we have bere, in a similar signification, hut less elegant, 
($kt)][\l2uh according to the hearing of the ear, i. e. hearsay. 
Instead of W*TP1 we find nJITl, which is either a transposi- 
tion of the letters as a solecism (cf. y\& 2 Sam. xiii. 27 for 
1SQ), or used in a peculiar signification. "They gird (accincti 
prodeunty does not give any suitable meaning to tbis pic- 
ture of voluntary submission. But iin (whence Talmudic 
*)3n lame) may have signified "to limp" in the dialect of the 
people, which may be understood of those who drag them- 
selves along with difficulty and reluctance (Hitz.). "Out of 
their closed places (castles)", here with the suff. am instead of 

Vers. 47 — 49. The lis thrust into ver. 47ft is trouble- 
some. 0"1>1 (without any necessity for correcting it to DTl) 
is optative, cf. Gen. xxvii. 31, Prov. ix. 4, 16. Instead of 
"12~?1 we have "Vlbl and who subduelh, which is less signifi- 
cant and so far as the syntax is concerned less elegant. Also 
here consequently ^nnn for Tinn. Instead of 'E^SD we find 
WSlOl and mho bringeth me forth out of my enemies, who 
surround me — a peculiar form of expression and without 
support elsewhere (for it is different in ver. 20). The 
poetical fjn is exchanged for the prose \ ^"ID for 'C(5D, and 
Den (t^N) for D>DDn (C'N); the last being a plur. (cxl. 2, 5, 
Prov. iv. 17), which is foreign to the genuine Davidic Psalms. 

Vers. 50 — 51. The change of position of mn 1 in ver. 
50a, as well as ItSTN for mtSTN, is against the rhythm; the 
latter, moreover, is contrary to custom, lvii. 10, cviii. 4. 
While ^13D of the other text is not pointed b~rxo, but ^HJD, 
it is corrected in this text from ^"U» into bi'tlTp tower of 
salvation — a figure that recalls lxi. 4, Prov. xviii. 10, but 
is obscure and somewhat strange in this connection; more- 
over, migdol for migdal, a tower, only occurs elsewhere in the 
Old Testament as a proper name. 

If we now take one more glance over the mutual rela- 
tionship of the two texts, we cannot say that both texts 
equally partake of the original. With the exception of the 
correct omission of ver. 14c and the readings natt'D, rnif'n, 
and 0} 'pSN there is scarely anything in the text of 2 Sam. 

Digitized by 



xxii. that specially commends itself to us. That this text 
is a designed, and perhaps a Davidic, revision of the other 
text (Hengst.), is an assumption that is devoid of reason 
and appearance; for in 2 Sam. xxii. we have only a text 
that varies in some instances , but not a substantially new 
form of the text. The text in 2 Sam. xxii., as it has shewn 
us, is founded upon careless written and oral transmission. 
The rather decided tendency towards a defective form of 
writing leads one to conjecture the greater antiquity of the 
copy from which it is taken. It is easy to understand how 
poetical passages inserted in historical works were less care- 
fully dealt with. It is characteristic of the form of the text 
of the Psalm in 2 Sam. xxii., that in not a few instances the 
licences of popular expression have crept into it. There is 
some truth in what Bottcher says, when he calls the text 
in the Psalter the recension of the priests and that in the 
Second Book of Samuel the recension of the laity. 



2 THE'heavens are telling the glory of God, 

And the work of His hands doth the firmament declare. 

3 Day unto day poureth forth speech, 

And night unto night sheweth knowledge — 

4 There is no speech and there are no words, 
Whose voice is inaudible. 

5 Into all lands is their line gone forth, 

And to the end of the world their utterances: 
To the sun hath He appointed a tabernacle there. 

6 And he is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, 
He rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. 

7 From the end of the heaven is his going forth 
And his circuit unto the end of it, 

And nothing can hide itself from his heat. 

Digitized by 



8 The Law of Jahve is spotless, 

restoring the soul; 
The testimony of Jahve is sure, 

making wise the simple. 
The statutes of Jahve are right, 

rejoicing the heart; 
The commandment of Jahve is pure, 

enlightening the eyes; 

10 The fear of Jahve is clean 

enduring for ever; 
The decisions of Jahve are truth, 

righteous altogether. 

11 More to be desired are they than gold, 

and much fine gold, 
And sweeter than honey 

and honey-comb. 

12 Moreover Thy servant is instructed by them, 

in keeping them there is great reward. 

13 As for errors who observeth them? 1 From hidden sins 

do Thou pronounce me clear 1 

14 Also from presumptuous sins keep Thy servant back, 

that they may not have dominion over me I 
Then shall I be guiltless and clean 

from great transgression. 

15 Thus let be acceptable the words of my mouth 

and the meditation of my heart 
Before Thy face, Jahve, 

my rock and my Redeemer 1! 

In the inscription of Ps. xviii. David is called nii"P *13J7, 
and in Ps. xix. he gives himself this name. In both Psalms, 
in the former at the beginning, in the latter at the close, 
he calls upon Jahve by the name '"list, my rock. These and 
other points of contact (Symbolee p. 49) have concurred to 
lead the collector to append Ps. xix., which celebrates God's 
revelation of Himself in nature and in the Law, to Ps. xviii., 
which celebrates God's revelation of Himself in the history 
of David. The view, that in Ps. xix. we have before us two 
torsi blown together from some quarter or other, is founded 
upon a defective insight into the relationship, which accords 

Digitized by 



with a definite plan, of the two halves vers. 2 — 7, 8 — 15, 
as Hitzig has recently shewn in opposition to that view. 
The poet begins with the praise of the glory of God the 
Creator, and rises from this to the praise of the mercy of 
God the Lawgiver; and thus through the praise, springing 
from wondering and loving adoration, he clears the way to 
the prayer for justification and sanctification. This prayer 
grows out of the praise of the mercy of the God who has 
revealed Himself in His word, without coming back to the 
first part, vers. 2 — 7. For, as Lord Bacon says, the hea- 
vens indeed tell of the glory of God, but not of His will, 
according to which the poet prays to be pardoned and 
sanctified. Moreover, if we suppose the Psalm to be called 
forth by the aspect of the heavens by day, just as Ps. viii. 
was by the aspect of the heavens by night, then the unity 
of this praise of the two revelations of God becomes still 
more clear. It is morning, and the psalmist rejoices on the 
one hand at the dawning light of day, and on the other he 
prepares himself for the day's work lying before him, in 
the light of the Tora. The second part, just like the first 
part, consists of fourteen lines, and each of them is natur- 
ally divided into a six and an eight line strophe. But in the 
second part, in the place of the short lines comes the csesur al 
schema, which as it were bounds higher, draws deeper 
breaths and surges as the rise and fall of the waves, for the 
Tora inspires the psalmist more than does the sun. And it 
is also a significant fact, that in the first part God is called 
bvi according to his relationship of power to the world, and 
is only mentioned once ; whereas in the second part, He is 
called by His covenant name mn\ and mentioned seven times, 
and the last time by a threefold name, which brings the 
Psalm to a close with a full toned ibnx\ 'IIS fflnv What a 
depth of meaning there is in this distinction of the revelation 
of God, the Redeemer, from the revelation of God, the 

The last strophe presents us with a sharply sketched 
soteriology in nuce. If we add Ps.xxxii., then we have the 
whole of the way of salvation in almost Pauline clearness and 
definiteness. Paul, moreover, quotes both Psalms; they were 
surely his favourites. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIX. 2—4. 281 

Vers. 2 — 4. The heavens, «'. e. the superterrestrial 
spheres, which, so far as human vision is concerned, are 
lost in infinite space, declare how glorious is God, and in- 
deed hvi, as the Almighty; and what His hands have made, 
i. e. what He has produced with a superior power to which 
everything is possible, the firmament, i. e. vault of heaven 
stretched out far and wide and as a transparency above the 
earth (Gneco-Veneta xdjia = exxajia, from jjjn, root pi, to 
stretch, xeiveiv), distinctly expresses. The sky and firma- 
ment are not conceived of as conscious beings which the 
middle ages, in dependence upon Aristotle (vid. Maimonides, 
More Nebuchim ii. 5) , believed could be proved from this 
passage, cf. Neh. ix. 6, Job xxxviii. 7. Moreover, Scripture 
knows nothing of the "music of the spheres" of the Pytha- 
goreans. What is meant is, as the old expositors correctly 
say, objectivum vocis non articulate prceconium. The doxa, 
which God has conferred upon the creature as the reflection 
of His own, is reflected back from it, and given back to God 
as it were in acknowledgment of its origin. The idea of 
perpetuity, which lies even in the participle, is expanded in 
ver. 3. The words of this discourse of praise are carried 
forward in an uninterrupted line of transmission, jpsn (fr. 
J03, **3, root 33, to gush forth, nearly allied to which, 

however, is also the root j?2, to spring up) points to the rich 
fulness with which, as from an inexhaustible spring, the 
testimony passes on from one day to the next. The parallel 
word nin is an unpictorial, but poetic, word that is more 
Aramaic than Hebrew (= Tl"). IG'H also belongs to the 
more elevated style; the Yvtooxiv too 9eoo deposited in the 
creature, although not reflected, is here called njn. The 
poet does not say that the tidings proclaimed by the day, 
if they gradually die away as the day declines, are taken 
up by the night, and the tidings of the night by the day; 
but (since the knowledge proclaimed by the day concerns 
the visible works of God by day, and that proclaimed by the 
night, His works by night), that each dawning day continues 
the speech of that which has declined, and each approach- 
ing night takes up the tale of that which has passed away 
(Psychol. S. 347, tr. p 408). If ver. 4 were to be rendered 

Digitized by 


282 PSALM XIX. 4. 

"there is no speech and there are no words, their voice 
is inaudible", i. e. they are silent, speechless witnesses, 
uttering no sound, but yet speaking aloud (Hengst.), only 
inwardly audible but yet intelligible everywhere (Then.): 
then, ver. 5 ought at least to begin with a Warn adversativum, 
and, moreover, the poet would then needlessly check his 
fervour, producing a tame thought and one that interrupts 
the flow of the hymn. To take ver. 4 as a circumstantial 
clause to ver. 5, and made to precede it, as Ewald does, 
"without loud speech . . . their sound has resounded through 
all the earth" (§ 341, d), is impossible, even apart from the 
fact of ")Ofc not meaning "loud speech" and 0lj5 hardly "their 
sound". Ver. 4 is in the form of an independent sentence, 
and there is nothing whatever in it to betray any designed 
subordination to ver. 5. But if it be made independent in the 
sense "there is no loud, no articulate speech, no audible 
voice, which proceeds from the heavens", then ver. 5 would 
form an antithesis to it; and this, in like manner, there is 
nothing to indicate, and it would at least require that the 
verb M2P should be placed first. Luther's rendering is better: 
There is no language nor speech , where their voice is not 
heard, t. «., as Calvin also renders it, the testimony of the 
heavens to God is understood by the peoples of every lan- 
guage and tongue. But this ought to be J1B6 pK or D5& fK 
(Gen. xi.l). Hofmann's rendering is similar, but more unten- 
able: "There is no speech and there are no words, that their 
cry is not heard, »'. e. the language of the heavens goes forth 
side by side with all other languages; and men may discourse 
ever so, still the speech or sound of the heavens is heard 
therewith, it sounds above them all." But the words are 
not yDBfo ^>3 (after the analogy of Gen. xxxi. 20), or rather 
yvz'] ^3 (as in Job xli. 18, Hos. viii. 7). >^3 with the part. 
is a poetical expression for the Alpha privat. (2 Sam. i. 21), 
consequently jttptW ^3 is "unheard" or "inaudible", and the 
opposite of yoB*:, audible, Jer. xxxi. 15. Thus, therefore, 
the only rendering that remains is that of the LXX, 
Vitringa, and Hitzig: There is no language and no 
words, whose voice is unheard, t. e. inaudible. Hupfeld's 
assertion that this rendering destroys the parallelism is 
unfounded. The structure of the distich resembles cxxxix. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIX. 5—7. 28S 

4. The discourse of the heavens and the firmament, of the 
day (of the sky by day) and of the night (of the sky by 
night), is not a discourse uttered in a corner, it is a discourse 
in speech that is everywhere audible, and in words that are 
understood by all, a <pctvep6v, Rom. i. 19. 

Vers. 5 — 7. Since ^pk and D , *i:n are the speech and 
words of the heavens, which form the ruling principal notion, 
comprehending within itself both qv> and S")W>, the suffixes 
of Dlj2 and DH'^a must unmistakeably refer to CDB'n in 
spite of its being necessary to assign another reference to 
obyp in ver. 4. Jer. xxxi. 39 shews how we are to understand 
lj? in connection with ns\ The measuring line of the 
heavens is gone forth into all the earth, f. e. has taken entire 
possession of the earth. Ver. 5ft tells us what kind of 
measuring line is intended, viz. that of their heraldship: 
their words (from rte, which is more Aramaic than Hebrew, 
and consequently more poetic) reach to the end of the world, 
they fill it completely, from its extreme boundary inwards. 
Isaiah's lj3, ch. xxviii. 10, is inapplicable here, because it 
does not mean commandment, but rule, and is there used 
as a word of derision, rhyming with is. The 4 <f06f(Oi 
afiteov of the LXX. (6 ?jxo« autwv Symm.) might more readily 
be justified, inasmuch as if) might mean a harpstring, as 
being a cord in tension, and then, like t6vo; (cf. tovaict), a 
tone or sound (Gesenius in his Lex., and Ewald), if the 
reading nb)p does not perhaps lie at the foundation of that 
rendering. But the usage of the language presents the 
signification of a measuring line for ip when used with NH> 
(Aq. xaviov, cf. 2 Cor. x. 13); and this gives a new thought, 
whereas in the other case we should merely have a repeti- 
tion of what has been already expressed in ver. 4. Paul 
makes use of these first two lines of the strophe in order, 
with its very words, to testify to the spread of the apos- 
tolic message over the whole earth. Hence most of the 
older expositors have taken the first half of the Psalm to 
be an allegorical prediction, the heavens being a figure of 
the church and the sun a figure of the gospel. The apostle 
does not, however, make a formal citation in the passage 
referred to, he merely gives a New Testament application 
to Old Testament language, by taking the all-penetrating 

Digitized by 


284 PSALM XIX. 7. 

prceconium ccelorum as figure of the all-penetrating preeco- 
nium evangelii; and he is fully justified in so doing by the 
parallel which the psalmist himself draws between the reve- 
lation of God in nature and in the written word. 

The reference of ori3 to D'D'ifi'n is at once opposed by 
the tameness of the thought so obtained. The tent, viz. 
the retreat (bT\H, according to its radical meaning a dwell- 
ing, from ^>riN, cogn. bin, to retire from the open country) 
of the sun is indeed in the sky, but it is more naturally at 
the spot where the sky and the ^on DSj? meet. Accordingly 
ODD has the neuter signification "there" (cf. Isa. xxx. 6); 
and there is so little ground for reading OB* instead of OB\ 
as Ewald does, that the poet on the contrary has written 
Di"D and not cW, because he has just used Qi? (Hitzig). The 
name of the sun, which is always feminine in Arabic, is 
predominantly masculine in Hebrew and Aramaic (cf. on 
the other hand Gen. xv. 17, Nah. iii. 17, Isa. xlv. 6, Mai. iii. 
20); just as the Sabians and heathen Arabs had a sun-god 
(masc). Accordingly in ver. 6 the sun is compared to a 
bridegroom, who comes forth in the morning out of his nGH. 
Joel ii. 16 shews that this word means a bride- chamber; 
properly (from f)BPI to cover) it means a canopy (Isa. iv. 5), 
whence in later Hebrew the bridal or portable canopy (Tal- 
mud. {03J IY3), which is supported by four poles and borne 
by four boys, at the consecration of the bridal pair, and 
then also the marriage itself, is called chuppa. The morn- 
ing light has in it a freshness and cheerfulness, as it were 
a renewed youth. Therefore the morning sun is compared 
to a bridegroom, the desire of whose heart is satisfied, 
who stands as it were at the beginning of a new life, and 
in whose youthful countenance the joy of the wedding-day 
still shines. And as at its rising it is like a bridegroom, 
so in its rapid course (Sir. xliii. 5) it is like a hero (vid. on 
xviii. 34), inasmuch as it marches on its way ever anew, 
light-giving and triumphant, as often as it comes forth, with 
PTTi2il (Judges v. 31). From one end of heaven, the extreme 
east of the horizon, is its going forth, t. e. rising (cf. Hos. 
y'i. 3; the opposite is fcOSD going in = setting), and its 
circuit (nsipFl, from rpp = rjj?j, Isa. xxix. 1, to revolve) 
cniJJpr^B, to their (the heavens') end (— ny Deut. iv. 32), cf. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIX. 8—10. 285 

1 Esdr. iv. 34: xaybi t<j> 8p6pq> 6 -SjXioc, 8n arplyzxai Iv ?$ 
xuxXep too oupavoo xal itaXiv &KQxpi%&i el? xov eaotou x6itov iv 
(ii^ -»)(Aepqi. On this open way there is not "iflDJ, anything 
hidden, i. e. anything that remains hidden, before its heat. 
nsn is the enlightening and wanning influence of the son, 
which is also itself called nsn in poetry. 

Vers. 8 — 10. No sign is made use of to mark the 
transition from the one part to the other, but it is 
indicated by the introduction of the divine name TWIT instead 
of bn. The word of nature declares ^t (God) to us, the 
word of Scripture rorp (Jahve); the former God's power and 
glory, the latter also His counsel and will. Now follow 
twelve encomiums of the Law, of which every two are related 
as antecedent and consequent, rising and falling according 
to the csesural schema, after the manner of waves. One 
can discern how now the heart of the poet begins to beat 
with redoubled joy as he comes to speak of God's word, 
the revelation of His will, jyflFl does not in itself mean the 
law, but a pointing out, instruction, doctrine or teaching, 
and more particularly such as is divine, and therefore posit- 
ive; whence it is also used of prophecy, Isa. i. 10, viii. 16, 
and prophetically of the New Testament gospel, Isa. ii. 3. 
But here no other divine revelation is meant than that given 
by the mediation of Moses , which is become the law, i. e. 
the rule of live (vojao?), of Israel; and this law, too, as a 
whole not merely as to its hortatory and disciplinary cha- 
racter, but also including the promises contained in it. The 
praises which the poet pronounces upon the Law, are 
accurate even from the standpoint of the New Testament. 
Even Paul says, Rom. vii. 12, 14, "The Law is holy and 
spiritual, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.* 
The Law merits these praises in itself; and to him who is 
in a state of favour, it is indeed no longer a law bring- 
ing a curse with it, but a mirror of the God merciful in 
holiness, into which he can look without slavish fear, and 
is a rule for the direction of his free and willing obedience. 
And how totally different is the affection of the psalmists 
and prophets for the Law, — an affection based upon the 
essence and universal morality of the commandments, and 
upon a spiritual realisation of the letter, and the consolation 

Digitized by 


286 PSALM XIX. 8—10. 

of the promises, — from the pharisaical rabbinical service 
of the letter and the ceremonial in the period after the 
Exile 1 

The divine Law is called HD'OFi, "perfect", t*. e. spotless 
and harmless, as being absolutely well-meaning, and alto- 
gether directed towards the well-being of man. And ro^TD 
ti'EO restoring, bringing back, i. e. imparting newness of life, 
quickening the soul (cf. Pil. 3311^, xxiii. 3), to him, viz., who 
obeys the will of God graciously declared therein, and enters 
upon the divine way or rule of salvation. Then in the place 
of the word mm we find ring, — as the tables of the Ten 
Commandments (rvnjjn mr6) are called, — from "ny (TJJH), 
which signifies not merely a corroborative, but also a warn- 
ing and instructive testimony or attestation. The testimony 
of Jahve is ruow, made firm, sure, faithful, t. e. raised 
above all doubt in its declarations, and verifying itself in 
its threatenings and promises; and hence TiD DD'Grip, mak- 
ing wise simplicity, or the simple, lit. openness, the open 
(root ns to spread out, open, Indo-Germ. prat, wet, pat, 
pad), i. e. easily led astray; to such an one it gives a solid 
basis and stability, oocpiCei au*6v, 2 Tim. iii. 15. The Law 
divides into DHipS, precepts or declarations concerning 
man's obligation; these are D'")JP\ straight or upright, as 
a norma normata, because they proceed from the upright, 
absolutely good will of God , and as a norma normans they 
lead along a straight way in the right track. They are there- 
fore 3^5 '•n&fe'D, their educative guidance, taking one as 
it were by the hand, frees one from all tottering, satisfies a 
moral want, and preserves a joyous consciousness of being 
in the right way towards the right goal, mrv niXD, Jahve's 
statute (from DW statuere), is the tenour of His command- 
ments. The statute is a lamp — it is said in Prov. vi. 23 
— and the law a light. So here: it is D*12, clear, like the 
light of the sun (Cant. vi. 10), and its light is imparted to 
other objects: O'yjj rn'KO, enlightening the eyes, which 
refers not merely to the enlightening of the understanding, 
but of one's whole condition; it makes the mind clear, and 
body as well as mind healthy and fresh, for the darkness 
of the eyes is sorrow, melancholy, and bewilderment. In 
this chain of names for the Law, 'n OKT is not the fear of 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIX. 11-^-15. 287 

God as an act performed, bat as a precept, it is what God's 
revelation demands, effects, and maintains ; so that it is the 
revealed way in which God is to be feared (xxxiv. 12), — 
in short, it is the religion of Jahve (cf. Prov. xv. 33 with 
Deut. xvii. 19). This is rnintO, clean, pure, as the word 
which is like to pare gold, by which it is taught, xii. 7, cf. 
Job xxviii.19; and therefore nyS rnc'y, enduring for ever in 
opposition to all false forms of reverencing God, which 
carry their own condemnation in themselves, 'n 'BQBto are 
the jura of the Law as a corpus juris divini, everything that 
is right and constitutes right according to the decision of 
Jahve. These judgments are niMjt, truth, which endures and 
verifies itself; because, in distinction from most others and 
those outside Israel, they have an unchangeable moral foun- 
dation: nrP 1p"1S, i. e. they are D'p'lS, in accordance with 
right and appropriate (Deut. iv. 8), altogether, because no 
reproach of inappositeness and sanctioned injustice or wrong 
clings to them. The eternal will of God has attained a 
relatively perfect form and development in the Law of Jahve 
according to the standard set up as the law of the nation. 

Vers. 11 — 15. With DHcnari (for which, preferring a 
simple Shebd with the gutturals, Ben-Naphtali writes QHariJO) 
the poet sums up the characteristics enumerated; the 
article is summative, as in 'B'tJ'ri at the close of the hexa- 
hemeron, Gen. i. 31. i© is the finest purified gold, cf. 1 Kings 
x. 18 with 2 Chron. ix. 17. D'SIS DDJ "the discharge (from 
nw — ouii) of the honeycombs* is the virgin honey, i. e. 
the honey that flows of itself out of the cells. To be desired 
are the revealed words of God, to him who possesses them as 
an outward possession; and to him who has received them 
inwardly they are sweet. The poet, who is himself con- 
scious of being a servant of God, and of striving to act as 
such, makes use of these words for the end for which they 
are revealed: he is "inw, one who suffers himself to be 

T I* * 

enlightened, instructed, and warned by them. OJ belongs 
to "IHU (according to the usual arrangement of the words, 
e. g. Hos. vi. 11), just as in ver. 14 it belongs to ^tpn. He 
knows that D"1Dt& < 3 (with a subjective suffix in an objective 
sense, cf. Prov. xxv. 7, just as we. may also say:) in their 
observance is, or is included, great reward, apjj is that 

Digitized by 


288 PSALM XIX. 11—15. 

which follows upon one's heels (Spy), or comes immediately 
after anything, and is used here of the result of conduct. 
Thus, then, inasmuch as the Law is not only a copy of the 
divine will, but also a mirror of self-knowledge, in which a 
man may behold and come to know himself, he prays for 
forgiveness in respect of the many sins of infirmity, — 
though for the most part unperceived by him, — to which, 
even the pardoned one succumbs. n&PJB' (in the terminology 
of the Law, rUJtf, ifdripa) comprehends the whole province 
of the peccatum involuntarium, both the peccatum ignorantice 
and the peccatum infirmitatis. The question delicto quit 
intelligit is equivalent to the negative clause: no one can 
discern his faults, on account of the heart of man being 
unfathomable and on account of the disguise, oftentimes so 
plausible, and the subtlety of sin. Hence, as an inference, 
follows the prayer: pronounce me free also nnRDiD, ab 
occultis (peccatis, which, however, cannot be supplied on 
grammatical grounds), equivalent to O'D^JJD (xc. 8), i. e. 
all those sins, which even he, who is most earnestly striving 
after sanctification, does not discern, although he may desire 
to know them , by reason of the ever limited nature of his 
knowledge both of himself and of sin.'" HJ5J, Sixaiouv, is a 
vox judicialis, to declare innocent, pronounce free from, to 
let go unpunished. The prayer for justification is followed 
in ver. 14 by the prayer for sanctification, and indeed for 
preservation against deliberate sins. From tit, TT, to seethe, 
boil over, Hiph. to sin wilfully, deliberately, insolently, — 
opp. of sin arising from infirmity, Exod. xxi. 14, Deut. 
xviii. 22, xvii. 12, — is formed ij an insolent sinner, one 
who does not sin HMtfa, but pin (cf. 1 Sam. xvii. 28, where 
David's brethren bring this reproach against him), or "P3 
nan, and the neuter collective DHT (cf. D'tCD, ci. 3, Hos. v. 2) 
peccata proeeretica or contra conscientiam, which cast one 
out of the state of grace or favour, Num. xv. 27 — 31. For 
if cm had been intended of arrogant and insolent possessors 

* In the Arab proverb, "no sin which is persisted in is small, no 
sin great for which forgiveness is sought of God," 'iyfJuo directly 

means a little and SwjLjS'a great sin, vid. Allgcm. Literar. Zeitsehr. 

1844. No. 46. p. 363. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XIX. 15. 289 

of power (Ewald), the prayer would have taken lome other 
form than that of "keeping back" (rfen as in 1 Sam. xxv. 
39 in the month of David). DHT, presumptuous sins, when 
they are repeated, become dominant sins, which irresistibly 
enslave the man (^>Bto with a non-personal subject, as in 
Isa. iii. 4b, cf. Ps. ciii. 19); hence the last member of the 
climax (which advances from the peccatum involuntarium to 
the proeereticum, and from this to the regnans)'. let them 
not have dominion over me (O with Dechi in Baer; generally 
wrongly marked with Munaeh). 

Then (?n), when Thou bestowest this twofold favour 
upon me, the favour of pardon and the grace of preservation, 
shall I be blameless (DtTK 1 fut. Kal, instead of QFIN, with 
' as a characteristic of e) and absolved (V^WJ not Piel, as 
in ver. 13, but Niph., to be made pure, absolved) from great 
transgression. yt#G* from j?a>Q (root tys), to spread out, 
go beyond the bounds, break through, trespass, is a collec- 
tive name for deliberate and reigning, dominant sin, which 
breaks through man's relation of favour with God, and 
consequently casts him out of favour, — in one word, for 
apostasy. Finally, the psalmist supplicates a gracious 
acceptance of his prayer, in which both mouth and heart 
accord, supported by the faithfulness, stable as the rock 
(yyts), and redeeming love (^>N13 redemptor, vindex, root hi, 
$n, to loose, redeem) of his God. |ftn^ rvn is a standing 
expression of the sacrificial tora, e. g. Lev. i. 3 sq. The 
spjB^, which, according to Exod. xxviii. 38, belongs to ]1jn^>, 
stands in the second member in accordance with the "pa- 
rallelism by postponement." Prayer is a sacrifice offered by 
the inner man. The heart meditates and fashions it; and 
the mouth presents it, by uttering that which is put into 
the form of words. 

* The Gaja with JftfeO is intended in this instance, where JrtteO 
T\ are to be read in close connection, to secure distinctness of pro- 
nunciation for the unaccented V, as t. g. is also the ease in lxrriii. 
13, CT !>jJS (Uka'JSm). 

vol. I. 19 

Digitized by 


290 PSALM XX. 



2 JAHVE answer thee in the day of distress, 

The name of the God of Jacob set thee up on high, 

S Send thee help from the sanctuary, 
And uphold thee out of Zion! 

4 Remember all thy meat-offerings, 

And graciously accept thy burnt offerings 1 (Sela). 

5 Give thee according to thine own heart, 
And fulfil all thy counsel! 

C We will shout for joy because of Thy help, 
And in the name of our God will we raise our 

banners — 
Jahve fulfil all thy wishes. 

7 Now know I that Jahve giveth help to His Anointed; 
He will answer him from His holy heaven 

With the helpful mighty deeds of His right hand. 

8 Some [praise] chariots and some horses, 

And we, we praise the name of Jahve, our God. 

9 If those have bowed down and fallen, 
Then we have risen up and stand firm. 

10 Jahve, Oh help the king! — 

May He hear us in the day we call. 

To Ps. six. is closely attached Ps. xx., because its 
commencement is as it were the echo of the prayer with 
which the former closes; and to Ps. xx. is closely attached 
Ps. xxi., because both Psalms refer to the same event 
relatively, as prayer and thanksgiving. Ps. xx. is an inter- 
cessory psalm of the nation, and Ps. xxi. a thanksgiving 
psalm of the nation, on behalf of its king. It is clearly 
manifest that the two Psalms form a pair, being connected 
by unity of author and subject. They both open somewhat 
uniformly with a synonymous parallelism of the members, 

Digitized by 


PSALM XX. 291 

xx. 2 — 6, xxi. 2 — 8; they then increase in fervour and assume 
a more vivid colouring as they come to speak of the foes of 
the king and the empire, xx. 7 — 9, xxi. 9 — 13; and they 
both close with an ejaculatory cry to Jahve, xx. 10, xxi. 14. 
In both, the king is apostrophised through the course of 
several verses, xx. 2 — 6, xxi. 9 — 13; and here and there 
this is done in a way that provokes the question whether 
the words are not rather addressed to Jahve, xx. 6, xxi. 10. 
In both Psalms the king is referred to by ^!?ari, xx. 10, 
xxi. 8; both comprehend the goal of the desires in the word 
mptf 1 , xx. 6, cf. 7, xxi. 2, 6; both delight in rare forms of 
expression, which are found only in these instances in the 
whole range of Old Testament literature, viz. bi~\) xx. 6, 
-nyru xx. 9, db'in xxi. 3, imnn xxi. 7. 

If, as the ~n-6 indicates, they formed part of the oldest 
Davidic Psalter, then it is notwithstanding more probable 
that their author is a cotemporary poet, than that it is 
David himself. For, although both as to form of expression 
(cf. xxi. 12 with x. 2) and as to thoughts (cf. xxi. 7 with 
xvi. 11), they exhibit some points of contact with Davidic 
Psalms, they still stand isolated by their peculiar character. 
But that David is their subject, as the inscription nnt>, and 
their position in the midst of the Davidic Psalms, lead one 
to expect, is capable of confirmation. During the time of 
the Syro-Ammonitish war comes David's deep fall, which in 
itself and in its consequences made him sick both in soul 
and in body. It was not until he was again restored to God's 
favour out of this self-incurred peril, that he went to his 
army which lay before Rabbath Ammon, and completed the 
conquest of the royal city of the enemy. The most satis- 
factory explanation of the situation referred to in this 
couplet of Psalms is to be gained from 2 Sam. xi. xii. Ps. 
xx. prays for the recovery of the king, who is involved in 
war with powerful foes; and Ps. xxi. gives thanks for his 
recovery, and wishes him a victorious issue to the approach- 
ing campaign. The "chariots and horses" (xx. 8) are 
characteristic of the military power of Aram (2 Sam. x. 18, 
and frequently), and in xxi. 4 and 10 we perceive an allu- 
sion to 2 Sam. xii. 30, 31, or at least a remarkable agree* 
ment with what is there recorded. 


Digitized by 


292 PSALM XX. »-«. 

Vera. 2—6. Litany for the king in distress, who offers 
sacrifices for himself in the sanctuary. The futures in vers. 
2 — 5, standing five times at the head of the climactic members 
of the parallelism, are optatives, vhp, ver. 6, also continues 
the chain of wishes, of which even nxpj (cf. lxix. 15) forms 
one of the links. The wishes of the people accompany both 
the prayer and the sacrifice. "The Name of the God of Jacob* 
is the self-manifesting power and grace of the God of Israel. 
3pjP is used in poetry interchangeably with btnar*, just like 
D'pfrtt with mnv Alshech refers to Gen. xxxv. 3; and it 
is not improbable that the desire moulds itself after the 
fashion of the record of the fact there handed down to us. 
May Jahve, who, as the history of Jacob shews, hears (and 
answers) in the day of distress, hear the king; may the 
Name of the God of Jacob bear him away from his foes to 
a triumphant height. 22& alternates with C011 (xviii. 49) 
in this sense. This intercession on the behalf of the pray- 
ing one is made in the sanctuary on the heights of Zion, 
where Jahve sits enthroned. May He send him succour from 
thence, like auxiliary troops that decide the victory. The 
king offers sacrifice. He offers sacrifice according to custom 
before the commencement of the battle (1 Sam. xiii. 9 sq., 
and cf. the phrase nopte BHP), a whole burnt-offering and 
at the same time a meat or rather meal offering also, 
fflroo;* for every whole offering and every shelamim- or 
peace-offering had a meat-offering and a drink-offering as 
its indispensable accompaniment. The word "DT is per- 
fectly familiar in the ritual of the meal-offering. That 
portion of the meal-offering, only a part of which was placed 
upon the altar (to which, however, according to traditional 
practice, does not belong the accompanying meal-offering 
of the QODJ Drue, which was entirely devoted to the altar), 
which ascended with the altar fire is called D13TM, pvijiilaovov 

* This, though not occurring in the Old Testament, is the principal 
form of the plural, which, as even David Kirachi recognises in his 
Lexicon, points to a verb DJO (just as m^DW, niJJ2|, (VrtSV point to 
7DW, p24, DD"!'); whereas other old grammarians supposed >inj to b» 
the root, and were puzzled with the traditional pronunciation m'nachdlh, 
but without reason. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XX. 2—6. 293 

(cf. Acts x. 4), that which brings to remembrance with God 
him for whom it is offered up (not "incense", as Hupfeld 
renders it); for the designation of the offering of jealousy, 
Num. v. 15, as "bringing iniquity to remembrance before 
God" shews, that in the meal-offering ritual *DT retains the 
very same meaning that it has in other instances. Every 
meal-offering is in a certain sense a jfi3t tTOO. Hence here 
the prayer that Jahve would graciously remember them is 
combined with the meal-offerings. 

As regards the 'olah, the wish "let fire from heaven (Lev. 
ix. 24, 1 Kings xviii. 38, 1 Chron. zzi. 26) turn it to ashes", 
would not be vain. But the language does not refer to any* 
thing extraordinary; and in itself the consumption of the 
offering to ashes (Bottcher) is no mark of gracious accept- 
ance. Moreover, as a denominative from |t£^T[, fat ashes, 
j&h means "to clean from ashes", and not: to turn into 
ashes. On the other hand, ]BH also signifies "to make fat", 
xxiii. 5, and this effective signification is applied declara- 
tively in this instance: may He find thy burnt-offering fat, 
which is equivalent to: may it be to Him a oHo TV~) m [an odour 
of satisfaction, a sweet-smelling savour]. The voluntative 
ah only occurs here and in Job xi. 17 (which see) and Isa. 
v. 19, in the 3 pers.; and in this instance, just as with the 
cohortative in 1 Sam. xxviii. 15, we have a change of the 
lengthening into a sharpening of the sound (cf. the exactly 
similar change of forms in 1 Sam. xxviii. 15, Isa. lix. 5, 
Zech. v. 4, Prov. xxiv. 14, Ezek. xxv. 13) as is very fre- 
quently the case in no for DO. The alteration to rui^T or 
FiJBh'' (Hitzig) is a felicitous but needless way of getting rid 
of the rare form. The explanation of the intensifying of 
the music here is, that the intercessory song of the choir is 
to be simultaneous with the presentation upon the altar 
(mtOj?!}). nsy is the resolution formed in the present war- 
time. "Because of thy salvation", i. e. thy success in war, 
is, as all the language is here, addressed to the king, cf. 
xxi. 2, where it is addressed to Jahve, and intended of the 
victory accorded to him. It is needless to read ^133 instead 
of ^)T|J, after the rendering of the LXX. iteyaXovOijeipeOa. 
brU is a denominative from ^p|: to wave a banner. In the 
closing line, the rejoicing of hope goes back again to the 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 

294 PSALM XX. 7—9. 

present and again assumes the form of an intercessory 

Vers. 7 — 9. While vers. 2 — 6 were being sung the offer- 
ing of the sacrifice was probably going on. Now, after a 
lengthened pause, there ascends a voice, probably the voice 
of one of the Levites, expressing the cheering assurance of 
the gracious acceptance of the offering that has been presented 
by the priest. With HRJ? or fiflJJI, the usual word to indicate 
the turning-point, the instantaneous entrance of the result 
of some previous process of prolonged duration, whether 
hidden or manifest (e. g. 1 Kings xvii. 24, Isa. xxix. 22), is 
introduced, pt^ln is the perfect of faith, which, in the 
certainty of being answered, realises the fulfilment in anti- 
cipation. The exuberance of the language in ver. 7 corres- 
ponds to the exuberance of feeling which thus finds expres- 

In ver. 3 the answer is expected out of Zion, in the 
present instance it is looked for from God's holy heavens; 
for the God who sits enthroned in Zion is enthroned for 
ever in the heavens. His throne on earth is as it were the 
vestibule of His heavenly throne; His presence in the sanctu- 
ary of Israel is no limitation of His omnipresence; His 
help out of Zion is the help of the Celestial One and Him 
who is exalted above the heaven of heavens. nlTOJ does not 
here mean the fulness of might (cf. xc. 10), but the dis- 
plays of power (cvi. 2, cxlv. 4, cl. 2, Isa. lxiii. 15), by which 
His right hand procures salvation, i. e. victory, for the 
combatant. The glory of Israel is totally different from 
that of the heathen, which manifests itself in boastful talk. 
In ver. 8a iTSiTn or VV2P must be supplied from the "pru 
in ver. 86 (LXX. |xeYoXov6ijo6|ie6a = "lOtt, xii. 5); 2 "V2!Ti, 
to make laudatory mention of any matter, to extol, and 
indirectly therefore to take credit to one's self for it, to 
boast of it (cf. 2 9}T), xliv. 9). According to the Law Israel 
was forbidden to have any standing army; and the law 
touching the king (Deut. xvii. 16) speaks strongly against 
his keeping many horses. It was also the same under the 
judges, and at this time under David; but under Solomon, 
who acquired for himself horses and chariots in great 
number (1 Kings x. 26 — 29), it was very different. It is 

Digitized by 


PSALM XX. 10. 295 

therefore a confession that mast belong to the time of Da- 
vid which is here made in ver. 8, viz. that Israel's glory in 
opposition to their enemies, especially the Syrians, is the 
sure defence and protection of the Name of their God alone. 
The language of David to Goliath is very similar, 1 Sam. 
xvii. 45. The preterites in ver. 9 are prcet. confidentice. It 
is, as Luther says, "a song of triumph before the victory, 
a shout of joy before succour." Since Dip does not mean 
to stand, but to rise, 13Q£ assumes the present superiority 
of the enemy. But the position of affairs changes: those 
who stand fall, and those who are lying down rise up; the 
former remain lying, the latter keep the field. The Hithpa. 
*nlj?nn signifies to shew one's self firm, strong, courageous; 
like "nip, cxlvi. 9, clxvii. 6, to strengthen, confirm, recover, 

from "T)j? to be compact, firm, cogn. al f. t., inf. aid, strength ; 
as, e.g., the Koran (Sur. xxxviii. 16) calls David dhd-l-aidi, 
possessor of strength, II. ajjada, to strengthen, support, and 

51, inf. add, strength, superiority, V. taaddada, to shew one's 
self strong, brave, courageous. 

Ver. 10. After this solo voice, the chorus again come 
on. The song is closed, as it was opened, by the whole 
congregation ; and is rounded off by recurring to its primary 
note, praying for the accomplishment of that which is sought 
and pledged. The accentuation construes T\b&T) with 1JJJ7' 
as its subject, perhaps in consideration of the fact, that 
HjPBln is not usually followed by a governed object, and 
because thus a medium is furnished for the transition from 
address to direct assertion. But if in a Psalm, the express 
object of which is to supplicate salvation for the king, 
"|^Dn ny>l6^n stand side by side, then, in accordance with 
the connection, "|^on must be treated as the object; and 
more especially since Jahve is called 2~\ TjbiO, in xlviii. 3, 
and the like, but never absolutely "j^on . Wherefore it is, 
with Hupfeld, Hitzig, and others , to be rendered according 
to the LXX. and Vulgate, Domine salvum fac regem. The 
New Testament cry 'Qoawa -rip ot<j> AaotS is a peculiar appli- 
cation of this Davidic "God bless the king (God save the 
king)", which is brought about by means of cxviii. 25. The 
closing line, ver. 10&, is an expanded Amen. 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 





2 JAHVE, on account of Thy strength is the king glad, 
And on account of Thy succour how greatly doth he 

8 The wish of his heart hast Thou granted him, 

And the desire of his lips hast Thou not refused. (Sela.) 

4 For Thou dost meet him bringing blessings of good, 
Thou settest upon his head a crown of fine gold. 

5 He asked life of Thee, — Thou grantedst it to him. 
Length of days, for ever and ever. 

6 Great is his glory through Thy help, 
Praise and glory dost Thou lay upon him. 

7 For Thou makest him blessings for ever, 

Thou dost delight him with joy in Thy presence. 

8 For the king trusted in Jahve, 

And through the favour of the Most High he shall not 
be moved. 

9 Thy hand will reach to all thine enemies 

Thy right hand will reach all those that hate thee. 

10 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven, 

when thou art angry, 
Jahve in His wrath shall swallow them up, 

and a fire shall devour them. 

11 Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, 
And their seed from among the children of men. 

12 For they intend evil against thee, 

They devise mischief: they shall accomplish nothing. 

13 For thou wilt make them turn back, 

With thy strings wilt thou aim at their faces. 

14 Be Thou exalted, Jahve, in Thy might; 

We will celebrate with voice and harp Thy strength. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXI. 2—3. 297 

"Jahve fulfil all thy desires* cried the people in the 
preceding Psalm, as they interceded on behalf of their king; 
and in this Psalm they are able thankfully to say to God 
'the desire of his heart hast Thou granted.* In both Psalms 
the people come before God with matters that concern the 
welfare of their king; in the former, with their wishes and 
prayers, in the latter, their thanksgivings and hopes; in the 
latter as in the former when in the midst of war, but in the 
latter after the recovery of the king, in the certainty of a 
victorious termination of the war. 

The Targum and the Talmud, B. Succa 52a, understand 
this 21st Psalm of the king Messiah. Rashi remarks that this 
Messianic interpretation ought rather to be given up for the 
sake of the Christians. But even the Christian exposition 
cannot surely mean to hold fast this interpretation so 
directly and rigidly as formerly. This pair of Psalm treats 
of David; David's cause, however, in its course towards a 
triumphant issue — a course leading through suffering — 
is certainly figuratively the cause of Christ. 

Vers. 2 — 3. The Psalm begins with thanksgiving for 
the bodily and spiritual blessings which Jahve has bestowed 
and still continues to bestow upon the king, in answer to 
his prayer. This occupies the three opening tetrastichs, 
of which these verses form the first. iy (whence spy, as in 
lxxiv. 13, together with !f|}?, lxiii. 3, and frequently) is the 
power that has been made manifest in the king, which has 
turned away his affliction; Jijnjj/' is the help from above 
which has freed him out of his distrees. The Sj\ which 
follows the no of the exclamation, is naturally shortened by 
the Keri into by (with the retreat of the tone); cf. on the 
contrary Prov. xx. 24, where no is interrogative and, accord- 
ing to the sense, negative). The iw. Xey. ntBhN has the 
signification eager desire, according to the connection, the 
LXX. B^tjoiv, and the perhaps also cognate B*n, to be poor; 
the Arabic Jh)*> avidum esse, must be left out of considera- 
tion according to the laws of the interchange of consonants, 

whereas Bhj, »&>j., caper e, captare (cf. &A — »«>!« an inherit- 
ance), but not urn (vid. xxxiv. 11), belongs apparently to 

Digitized by 


298 PSALM XXI. 4—7. 

the same root. Observe the strong negation ^3: no, thou 
hast not denied, but done the very opposite. The fact of 
the music having to strike up here favours the supposition, 
that the occasion of the Psalm is the fulfilment of some 
public, well-known prayer. 

Vers. 4 — 5. "Blessings of good" (Prov. xxiv. 25) are 
those which consist of good, i. e. true good fortune. The 
verb cnp, because used of the favour which meets and 
presents one with some blessing, is construed with a double 
accusative, after the manner of verbs of putting on and 
bestowing (Ges. § 139). Since ver. 46 cannot be intended 
to refer to David's first coronation, but to the preservation 
and increase of the honour of his kingship, this parti* 
cularisation of ver. 4<x sounds like a prediction of what is 
recorded in 2 Sam. xii. 30: after the conquest of the Am- 
monitish royal city Rabbah David set the Ammonitish crown 
(rntsj?), which is renowned for the weight of its gold and its 
ornamentation with precious stones, upon his head. David 
was then advanced in years, and in consequence of heavy 
guilt, which, however, he had overcome by penitence and 
laying hold on the mercy of God, was come to the brink 
of the grave. He, worthy of death, still lived; and the 
victory over the Syro-Ammonitish power was a pledge to 
him of God's faithfulness in fulfilling his promises. It is 
contrary to the tenour of the words to say that ver. 56 does 
not refer to length of life, but to hereditary succession to 
the throne. To wish any one that he may live 0^1j^>, and 
especially a king, is a usual thing, 1 Kings i. 31, and fre- 
quently. The meaning is, may the life of the king be pro- 
longed to an indefinitely distant day. What the people have 
desired elsewhere, they here acknowledge as bestowed upon 
the king. 

Vers. 6 — 7. The help of God turns to his honour, and 
paves the way for him to honour, it enables him — this is 
the meaning of ver. 66 — to maintain and strengthen his 
kingship with fame and glory, hn Hits' used, as in lxxxix. 
20, of divine investiture and endowment. To make blessings, 
or a fulness of blessing , is a stronger form of expressing 
God's words to Abram, Gen. xii. 2: thou shalt be a blessing 
t". e. a possessor of blessing thyself, and a medium of blessing 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXI. 8—11. 29£ 

to others. Joy in connection with (riN as in xvi. 11) the 
countenance of God, is joy in delightful and most intimate 
fellowship with Him. rnn, from rnn, which occurs once 
in Exod. xviii. 9, has in Arabic, with reference to nomad 
life, the meaning "to cheer the beasts of burden with a song 
and urge them on to a quicker pace", and in Hebrew, as in 
Aramaic, the general signification "to cheer, enliven." 

Vers. 8 — 9. With this strophe the second half of the 
Psalm commences. The address to God is now changed 
into an address to the king; not, however, expressive of 
the wishes, but of the confident expectation, of the speakers. 
Hengstenberg rightly regards ver. 8 as the transition to the 
second half; for by its objective utterance concerning the 
king and God, it separates the language hitherto addressed 
to God, from the address to the king, which follows. We 
do not render ver. 8b: and [trusting] in the favour of the 
Most High — he shall not be moved ; the mercy is the res- 
ponse of the trust, which (trust) does not suffer him to be 
moved; on the expression, cf. Prov. x. 30. This inference 
is now expanded in respect to the enemies who desire to 
cause him to totter and fall. So far from any tottering, he, 
on the contrary, makes a victorious assault upon his foes. 
If the words had been addressed to Jahve, it ought, in order 
to keep up the connection between vers. 9 and 8, at least 
to have been V2>K and vwfe' (his, i. e. the king's, enemies). 
What the people now hope on behalf of their king, they here 
express beforehand in the form of a prophecy, b NSO (as 
in Isa. x. 10) and NSC seq. ace. (as in 1 Sam. xxiii. 17) are 
distinguished as: to reach towards, or up to anything, and 
to reach anything, attain it. Supposing b to represent the 
accusative, as e. g. in lxix. 6, ver. 9b would be a useless 

Vers. 10 — 11. Hitherto the Psalm has moved uniformly 
in synonymous dipodia, now it becomes agitated ; and one 
feels from its excitement that the foes of the king are also 
the people's foes. True as it is, as Hupfeld takes it, that 
I'JS H}?^ sounds like a direct address to Jahve, ver. 10& 
nevertheless as truly teaches us quite another rendering 
The destructive effect, which in other passages is said to 
proceed from the face of Jahve, xxxiv. 17, Lev. xx. 6, Lam. 

Digitized by 


300 PSALM XXI. 12—14. 

it. 16 (cf. fx« 6eJ« 2x5txov S|x|xa),is here ascribed to the face, 
i. e. the personal appearing (2 Sam. xvii. 11) of the king. 
David's arrival did actually decide the fall of Rabbath Am- 
nion, of whose inhabitants some died under instruments of 
torture and others were cast into brick-kilns, 2 Sam. xii. 
26 sqq. The prospect here moulds itself according to this 
fate of the Ammonites, b'n "yore is a second accusative to 
iDIVB'n, thou wilt make them like a furnace of fire, i. e. a 
burning furnace, so that like its contents they shall entirely 
consume by fire {synecdoche continentis pro contento). The 
figure is only hinted at, and is differently applied to what 
it is in Lam. v. 10, Mai. iii. 19. Ver. 10a and 10b are 
intentionally two long rising and falling wave-like lines., to 
which succeed, in ver. 11, two short lines; the latter describe 
the peaceful gleaning after the fiery judgment of God that 
has been executed by the hand of David. UDpS, as in Lam. 
ii. 20, Hos. ix. 16, is to be understood after the analogy of 
the expression )t02n >"10. It is the fate of the Amalekites 
(cf. ix. 6 sq.), which is here predicted of the enemies of 
the king. 

Vers. 12 — 13. And this fate is the merited frustration 
of their evil project. The construction of the sentences in 
ver. 12 is like xxvii. 10, cxix. 83; Ew. § 362, b. Djn DB3 
is not to be understood according to the phrase n#n TVDi 
(= UhB), for this phrase is not actually found; we have 
rather, with Hitzig, to compare lv. 4, 2 Sam. xv. 14: to 
incline evil down upon any one is equivalent to: to put it 
over him, so that it may fall in upon him. !"II3J signifies "to 
extend lengthwise", to unfold, but also to bend by draw- 
ing tight, rotfr' n't? to make into a back, i. e. to make them 
into such as turn the back to you, is a more choice ex- 
pression than Fpy jro, xviii. 41, cf. 1 Sam. x. 9; the half 
segolate form CQ&, (•= DDB>) becomes here, in pause, the 
full segolate form 03B> . D'Sn must be supplied as the object 
to jJDFI, as it is in other instances after Jfflli ^Vfa, HT;; 
yr\ jjfis, xi. 2, cf. vii. 14, signifies to set the swift arrow upon 
the bow-string ("IPPD = inj) = to aim. The arrows hit the 
front of the enemy, as the pursuer overtakes them. 

Ver. 14. After the song has spread abroad its wings in 
twice three tetrastichs, it closes by, as it were, soaring aloft 

Digitized by 



and thus losing itself in a distich. It is a cry to God for 
victory in battle, on behalf of the king. "Be Thou exalted", 
i. e. manifest Thyself in Thy supernal (lvii. 6, 12) and judi- 
cial (vii. 7 sq.) sovereignty. What these closing words long 
to see realised is that Jahve should reveal for world-wide 
conquest this iTVQa, to which everything that opposes Him 
must yield, and it is for this they promise beforehand a 
joyous gratitudo. 



2 MY God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?! 
Far from my help is my entreating cry, 

3 my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou answerest not, 
And in the night season, but I have no rest. 

4 Yet Thou art holy, sitting enthroned above the praises 

of Israel. 

5 In Thee our fathers trusted, 

They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. 
C Unto Thee they cried and were freed, 

In Thee trusting, they were not put to shamo. 

7 But I am a worm, and not a man; 

A reproach of men and despised of the people. 

8 All they that see me laugh me to scorn ; 
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head: 

9 "Roll it upon Jahve — let Him deliver him, 

"Let Him rescue him, when He delighteth in him." 

10 Yea Thou art He that took me out of the womb 
That inspired me with trust at my mother's breasts. 

11 On Thee was I cast from my birth, 

From my mother's womb Thou art my God. 

12 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, 
For there is no helper at hand. 

13 Mighty bulls have compassed me, 

Strong ones of Bashan have beset me round. 

Digitized by 



14 They open their mouth against me — 
A lion ravening and roaring. 

15 Like water am I poured out, 
And out of joint are all my bones. 
My heart is become like wax, 
Melted in the midst of my bowels. 

16 Dried up like a potsherd is my strength. 
And my tongue cleaveth to my jaws, 
And Thou layest me in the dust of death. 

17 For dogs have compassed me, 

A band of wicked men encircles me, 
Like a lion, my hands and my feet. 

18 I can count all my bones, 
They look, they stare upon me. 

19 They part my garments among them, 
And upon my vesture they cast lots. 

20 And Thou, Jahve, remain not afar off! 
My strength, haste Thee to help me 1 

21 Rescue my soul from the sword, 

My only one from the paw of the dog. 

22 Save me from the lion's jaws, 

And from the horns of the antilopes — Thou will 
answer me. 

23 I will declare Thy name among my brethren, 

In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee: 

24 "Ye that fear Jahve, praise Him; 

"AH ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him, 

"And stand in awe of Him, all ye seed of Israel!" 

25 "For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction 

of the afflicted, 
"Neither hath He hid His face from him, 
"And when he cried, He hath hearkened to him." 

Digitized by 



26 From Thee Cometh my praise in the great congregation — 
My vows will I pay before them that fear Him. 

27 The meek shall eat and be satisfied, 
They shall praise Jahve that seek Him: 
"Let your heart refresh itself for everl" 

28 Remember and turn unto Jahve shall all the ends of 

the earth, 
And all the families of the nations shall bow down 
before Thee. 

29 For Jahve's is the kingship, and He ruleth among the 


30 All the thriving of the earth shall eat and bow down, 
Before Him shall all they that go down to the dust sink 

down and they that cannot prolong their life. 

31 A seed shall serve Him: it shall be told to the generation 

concerning the Lord; 

32 They shall come and declare His righteousness to a 

future people, that He hath finished it. 

We have here a plaintive Psalm, whose deep complaints, 
out of the midst of the most humiliating degradation and 
most fearful peril, stand in striking contrast to the cheer- 
ful tone of Ps. xxi. — starting with a disconsolate cry of 
anguish, it passes on to a trustful cry for help, and ends in 
vows of thanksgiving and a vision of world-wide results, 
which spring from the deliverance of the sufferer. In no 
Psalm do we trace such an accumulation of the most ex- 
cruciating outward and inward suffering pressing upon the 
complainant, in connection the most perfect innocence. In 
this respect Ps. lxix. is its counterpart; but it differs from 
it in this particular, that there is not a single sound of 
imprecation mingled with its complaints. 

It is David, who here struggles upward out of the 
gloomiest depth to such a bright height. It is a Davidic 
Psalm belonging to the time of the persecution by Saul. 
Ewald brings it down to the time preceding the destruction 

Digitized by 



of Jerusalem, and Bauer to the time of the Exile. Ewald 
says it is not now possible to trace the poet more exactly. 
And Maurer closes by saying : Mud unum equidem pro certo 
habeo, fuisse vatem hominem opibus prmdilum alque Ulustrem, 
qui magna auctoritate valeret non solum apud suos, verum etiam 
apud barbaros. Hitzig persists in his view, that Jeremiah 
composed the first portion when cast into prison as an 
apostate, and the second portion in the court of the prison, 
when placed under this milder restraint. And according to 
Olshausen, even here again, the whole, is appropriate to the 
time of the Maccabees. But it seems to us to be confirmed 
at every point, that David, who was so persecuted by Saul, 
is the author. The cry of prayer pmrrtN (xxii. 12, 20, 
xxxv. 22, xxxviii 22, borrowed in lxxi. 12); the name given 
to the soul, mTP (xxii. 21, xxxv. 17); the designation of 
quiet and resignation by iron (xxii. 3, xxxix. 3, lxii. 2, cf. 
lxy. 2), are all regarded by us, since we do not limit the 
genuine Davidic Psalms to Ps. iii. — xix. as Hitzig does, as 
Davidic idioms. Moreover, there is no lack of points of 
contact in other respects with genuine old Davidic hymns 
(cf. xxii. 30 with xxviii. 1, those that go down to the dust, 
to the grave; then in later Psalms as in cxliii. 7, in Isaiah 
and Ezekiel), and more especially those belonging to the 
time of Saul, as Ps. lxix. (cf. xxii. 27 with lxix. 33) and lix. 
(cf. xxii. 17 with lix. 15). To the peculiar characteristics 
of the Psalms of this period belong the figures taken from 
animals, which are heaped up in the Psalm before us. The 
fact that Ps. xxii. is an ancient Davidic original is also 
confirmed by the parallel passages in the later literature of 
the Shir (lxxi. 5 sq. taken from xxii. 10 sq.; cii. 18 sq. in 
imitation xxii. 25, 31 sq.), of the Chokma (Prov. xvi. 3, 
Trbtt hi taken from Ps. xxii. 9, xxxvii. 5), and of prophecy 
(Isaiah, ch. xlix. liii.; Jeremiah, in Lam. iv. 4; cf. Ps. xxii. 
15, and many other similar instances). In spite of these 
echoes in the later literature there are still some expressions 
that remain unique in the Psalm and are not found else 
where, as the hapaxlegomena rvfr'K and ntJJJ. Thus, then, 
we entertain no doubts respecting the truth of the ir6. Da- 
vid speaks in this Psalm, — he and not any other, and that 

Digitized by 



out of his own inmost being. In accordance with the nature 
of lyric poetry, the Psalm has grown up on the soil of his 
individual life and his individual sensibilities. 

There is also in reality in the history of David, when 
persecuted by Saul, a situation which may have given occa- 
sion to the lifelike picture drawn in this Psalm, viz. 1 Sam. 
xxiii. 25 sq. The detailed circumstances of the distress at 
that time are not known to us, but they certainly did not 
coincide with the rare and terrible sufferings depicted in 
this Psalm in such a manner that these can be regarded as 
an historically faithful and literally exact copy of those 
circumstances; cf. on the other hand Ps. xvii. which was 
composed at the same period. To just as slight a degree 
have the prospects, which he connects in this Psalm with his 
deliverance, been realised in David's own life. On the other 
hand, the first portion exactly coincides with the sufferings 
of Jesus Christ, and the second with the results that have 
sprung from His resurrection. It is the agonising situation of 
the Crucified One which is presented before our eyes in vers. 
15 — 18 with such artistic faithfulness: the spreading out 
of the limbs of the naked body, the torturing pain in hands 
and feet, and the burning thirst which the Redeemer, in 
order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, announced in 
the cry Si<j>d>, John xix. 28. Those who blaspheme and 
those who shake their head at Him passed by His cross, 
Mat. xxvii. 39, just as ver. 8 says ; scoffers cried out to Him: 
let the God in whom He trusts help Him, Mat. xxvii. 43, 
just as ver. 9 says; His garments were divided and lots were 
cast for His coat, John xix. 23 sq., in order that ver. 19 of 
our Psalm might be fulfilled. The fourth of the seven say- 
ings of the dying One, 'HXi, 'HX£ x. x. X., Mat. xxvii. 46, 
Mark xv. 34, is the first word of our Psalm and the appro- 
priation of the whole. And the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. ii. 
11 sq., cites ver. 23 as the words of Christ, to shew that 
He is not ashamed to call them brethren, whose sanctifier 
God has appointed Him to be, just as the risen Redeemer 
actually has done, Mat. xxviii. 10, John xx. 17. This has 
by no means exhausted the list of mutual relationships. 
The Psalm so vividly sets before us not merely the sufferings 
of the Crucified One, but also the salvation of the world 

VOL I. 20 

Digitized by 



arising out of His resurrection and its sacramental effi- 
cacy, that it seems more like history than prophecy, ut 
non tarn pr Ophelia, quam historia videatur (Cassiodorns). 
Accordingly the ancient Church regarded Christ, not David, 
as the speaker in this Psalm; and condemned Theodore of 
Mopsuestia who expounded it as cotemporary history. 
Bakius expresses the meaning of the older Lutheran expos- 
itors when he says: asserimus, hunc Psalmum ad literam prima, 
proprie et absque ulla allegoria, tropologia et iwxym-^ integrum 
et per omnia de solo Christo exponendum esse. Even the sy- 
nagogue, so far as it recognises a suffering Messiah, hears 
Him speak here; and takes the "hind of the morning* as a 
name of the Shechina and as a symbol of the dawning 

To ourselves, who regard the whole Psalm as the words 
of David, it does not thereby lose anything whatever of its 
prophetic character. It is a typical Psalm. The same God 
who communicates His thoughts of redemption to the mind 
of men, and there causes them to develope into the word of 
prophetic announcement, has also moulded the history itself 
into a prefiguring representation of the future deliverance; 
and the evidence for the truth of Christianity which is de- 
rived from this factual prophecy (Thattveissagung) is as grand 
as that derived from the verbal prediction ( Worlmeissagung). 
That David, the anointed of Samuel, before he ascended the 
throne, had to traverse a path of suffering which resembles 
the suffering path of Jesus, the Son of David, baptized of 
John, and that this typical suffering of David is embodied 
for us in the Psalms as in the images reflected from a mir- 
ror, is an arrangement of divine power, mercy, and wisdom. 
But Ps. xxii. is not merely a typical Psalm. For in the 
very nature of the type is involved the distance between it 
and the antitype. In Ps. xxii., however, David descends, 
with his complaint, into a depth that lies beyond the depth 
of his affliction, and rises, with his hopes, to a height that 
lies far beyond the height of the reward of his affliction. 

In other words: the rhetorical figure hyperbole (iUJLye, i. e. 

depiction, with colours thickly laid on), without which, in 
the eyes of the Semite, poetic diction would be flat and 


Digitized by 



faded, is here made use of by the Spirit of God. By this 
Spirit the hyperbolic element is changed into the prophetic. 
This elevation of the typical into the prophetic is also 
capable of explanation on psychological grounds. Since 
David has been anointed with the oil of royal consecration, 
and at same time with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the 
kingship of promise, he regards himself also as the messiali 
of God, towards whom the promises point; and by virtue 
of this view of himself, in the light of the highest calling in 
connection with the redemptive history, the historical real- 
ity of his own experiences becomes idealised to him, and 
thereby both what he experiences and what he hopes for 
acquire a depth and height of background which stretchei 
out into the history of the final and true Christ of God. 
We do not by this maintain any overflowing of his own 
consciousness to that of the future Christ, an opinion which 
has been shewn by Hengstenberg, Tholuck and Kurtz to be 
psychologically impossible. But what we say is, that look- 
ing upon himself as the Christ of God, — to express it in 
the light of the historical fulfilment, — he looks upon 
himself in Jesus Christ. He does not distinguish himself 
from the Future One, but in himself he sees the Future 
One, whose image does not free itself from him till after- 
wards, and whose history will coincide with all that is 
excessive in his own utterances. For as God the Father 
moulds the history of Jesus Christ in accordance with His 
own counsel, so His Spirit moulds even the utterances of 
David concerning himself the type of the Future One, with 
a view to that history. Through this Spirit, who is the 
Spirit of God and of the future Christ at the same time, 
David's typical history, as he describes it in the Psalms and 
more especially in this Psalm, acquires that ideal depth of 
tone, brilliancy, and power, by virtue of which it (the hist- 
ory) reaches far beyond its typical facts, penetrates to its 
very root in the divine counsels, and grows to be the word 
of prophecy: so that, to a certain extent, it may rightly be 
said that Christ here speaks through David, insofar as the 
Spirit of Christ speaks through him, and makes the typical 
suffering of His ancestor the medium for the representation 
of His own future sufferings. Without recognising this 


Digitized by 



incontestable relation of the matter Ps.xxii. cannot ae under- 
stand nor can we fully enter into its sentiments. 

The inscription runs: To the precentor, upon (after) the 
hind of the morning's damn, a Psalm of David. Luther, with 
reference to the fact that Jesus was taken in the night and 
brought before the Sanhedrim, renders it 'of the hind, that 
is early chased,* for 

Patris Sapientia, Veritas divina, 
Deus homo captus est hord matutind. 

This interpretation is certainly a well-devised improve- 
ment of the unep ttjs ivnkifyemi T7jc ea>6iVTJ« of the LXX. (Vulg. 
pro susceptione matutina), which is based upon a confounding 
of n^N with nfytt (ver. 20), and is thus explained by Theo- 
doret: cmiXi)tj<ic ie»6ivi] J) too aomjpoc j)|icuv eitwpaveta. Even 
the Midrash recalls Cant. ii. 8, and the Targum the lamb 
of the morning sacrifice, which was offered as soon as the 
watchman on the pinnacle of the Temple cried: Wp"Q jro 
(the first rays of the morning burst forth). -irjIByn r6;*? is 
in fact, according to traditional definition, the early light 
preceding the dawn of the morning, whose first rays are 
likened to the horns of a hind.* But natural as it may be to 
assign to the inscription a symbolical meaning in the case 
of this Psalm, it certainly forms no exception to the tech- 
nical meaning, in connection with the music, of the other 
inscriptions. And Melissus (1572) has explained it cor- 
rectly "concerning the melody of a common song, whose 
commencement was Ajileth Hashdhar, that is, The hind of 
the morning's dawn." And it may be that the choice of the 
melody bearing this name was designed to have reference 
to the glory which bursts forth in the night of affliction. 

According to the course of the thoughts the Psalm falls 
into three divisions, vers. 2 — 12, 13 — 22, 23 — 32, which are 

* There is a determination of the time to this effect, which is 
found both in the Jerusalem and in the Babylonian Talmud "from the 
hind of the morning's dawn till the east is lighted up." In Jer. Be- 
rachoth, ad init, it is explained: NlinJl 'Jip Tnn fED "\VWT\ lb* 
mhyb prUDl NWHDD ppbo, "like two horns of light, rising from 
the east and filling the world with light." 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXIL 2—3. 309 

of symmetrical compass, consisting of 21, 24, and 21 lines. 
Whether the poet has laid out a more complete atrophic 
arrangement within these three groups or not, must remain 
undecided. But the seven long closing lines are detached 
from the third group and stand to the column of the whole, 
in the relation of its base. 

Vers. 2 — 3. In the first division, vers. 2 — 12, the dis- 
consolate cry of anguish, beginning here in ver. 2 with the 
lamentation over prolonged desertion by God, struggles 
through to an incipient, trustfully inclined prayer. The 
question beginning with np 1 ? (instead of TVsb before the 
* guttural, and perhaps to make the exclamation more pier- 
cing, vid. on vi. 5, x. 1) is not an expression of impatience 
and despair, but of alienation and yearning. The sufferer 
feels himself rejected of God; the feeling of divine wrath 
has completely enshrouded him; and still he knows him- 
self to be joined to God in fear and love ; his present con- 
dition belies the real nature of his relationship to God; and 
it is just this contradiction that urges him to the plaintive 
question, which comes up from the lowest depths: Why 
hast Thou forsaken me? But in spite of this feeling of deser- 
tion by God, the bond of love is not torn asunder; the 
sufferer calls God i^K (my God), and urged on by the long- 
ing desire that God again would grant him to feel this love, 
he calls Him, ^k ^>n. That complaining question: why 
hast Thou forsaken me ? is not without example even else- 
where in the Psalms, lxxxviii. 15, cf. Isa. xlix. 14. The 
forsakenness of the Crucified One, however, is unique ; and 
may not be judged by the standard of David or of any other 
sufferers who thus complain when passing through trial. 
That which is common to all is here, as there, this, viz. 
that behind the wrath that is felt, is hidden the love of God, 
which faith holds fast; and that he who thus complains 
even on account of it, is, considered in itself, not a subject 
of wrath, because in the midst of the feeling of wrath he 
keeps up his communion with God. The Crucified One is 
to His latest breath the Holy One of God; and the reconci- 
liation for which He now offers himself is God's own eter- 
nal purpose of mercy, which is now being realised in the 

Digitized by 


310 PSALM XXII. 2—7. 

fulness of times. But inasmuch as He places himself under 
the judgment of God with the sin of His people and of the 
whole human race, He cannot be spared from experiencing 
God's wrath against sinful humanity as though He were 
himself guilty. And out of the infinite depth of this experi- 
ence of wrath, which in His case rests on no mere appear- 
ancc, but the sternest reality*, comes the cry of His com- 
plaint which penetrates the wrath and reaches to God's love, 
r ( Xl tjXi XajiA oa|3ax6avt, which the evangelists, omitting the 
additional itp6o^e« pot** of the LXX., render: 6e£ pou,6ei poo, 
fva Tt (ie e-pcatiXiites. He does not say ^FCtJJ, but 'inputs', 
which is the Targum word for the former. He says it in 
Aramaic, not in order that all may understand it, — for 
such a consideration was far from His mind at such a time, 
— but because the Aramaic was His mother tongue, for the 
same reason that He called God M2K in prayer. His deser- 
tion by God, as ver. 2b says, consists in God's help and His 
cry for help being far asunder. rUNtt', prop, of the roar of 
the lion (Aq. PpuxTjjiet), is the loud cry extorted by the 
greatest agony, xxxviii. 9; in this instance, however, as 
<~£n shews, it is not an inarticulate cry, but a cry bearing 
aloft to God the words of prayer, pirn is not to be taken 
as an apposition of the subject of 'jrDTJ?: far from my help, 
(from) the words of my crying (Riehm); for TUNIS' >"C~ 
would then also, on its part, in connection with the non- 
repetition of the p, be in apposition to YljnB^O. But to 
this it is not adapted on account of its heterogeneousness; 
hence Hitzig seeks to get over the difficulty by the conjec- 
ture VWtt'Q ("from my cry, from the words of my groaning"). 
Nor can it be explained, with Olshausen and Hupfeld, by 
adopting Aben-Ezra's interpretation, "My God, my God, 
why hast Thou forsaken me, far from my help? are the 
words of my crying." This violates the structure of the 

* Ensebius observes on ver. 2 of this Psalm, Stxatoouvrjt b-ndpja* 
Kr tfh ' r 'l v ^HEtlpav dpap-rtav dv£Xa|3e xal e&Xoftas &v itlXafo; rfjv titi- 
xeiiiivqv T)|itv xatdpav, and: ftp &piop^vr,v t)(jlTv itai8e(av OirijXflev 
ixav, naiSefa yap t{pT)vr,t thjicuv in' aitiv, ^ tprjalv 6 irpoyijTTjS. 

** Vid. Jerome's Ep. ad Pammachium de oplimo genere inter pretandi, 
where he cries oat to his critics, sticklers for tradition, Reddant ratio- 
item, cur septuaginta trantlatoret interposuerunt "retpice in me"l 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXII. 4-6. 311 

verse, the rhythm, and the custom of the language, and gives 
to the Psalm a flat and unlyrical commencement. Thus, 
therefore, pirn in the primary form, as in cxix. 155, accord- 
ing to Ges. § 146, 4, will be the predicate to nm and 
placed before it: far from my salvation, t. e. far from my 
being rescued, are the words of my cry; there is a great 
gulf between the two, inasmuch as God does not answer 
him though he cries unceasingly. In ver. 3 the reverential 
name of God >rfr$ takes the place of >b& the name that 
expresses His might; it is likewise vocative and accordingly 
marked with Rebia magnum. It is not an accusative of the 
object after xviii. 4 (Hitzig), in which case the construction 
would be continued with fl}jP t(b\ . That it is, however, God 
to whom he calls is implied both by the direct address vhvt t 
and by ruyn nS, since he from whom one expects an an- 
swer is most manifestly the person addressed. His uninter- 
rupted crying remains unanswered, and unappeased. The 
clause ih 7)vp"yUb\ t is parallel to ruyn *6l, and therefore does 
not mean: without allowing me any repose (Jer. xiv. 17, 
Lam. iii. 49), but: without any rest being granted to me, 
without my complaint being appeased or stilled. From the 
sixth to the ninth hour the earth was shrouded in darkness. 
About the ninth hour Jesus cried, after a long and more 
silent struggle, r,Xi, r,Xi. The ivspotjoav ywvq (jleyqiXtq, Mat. 
xxvii. 46, and also the xpao-p) layupa of Hebr. v. 7, which 
does not refer exclusively to the scene in Gethsemane, calls 
to mind the TUNIS' of ver. 2b. When His passion reached 
its climax, days and nights of the like wrestling had pre- 
ceded it, and what then becomes audible was only an out- 
burst of the second David's conflict of prayer, which grows 
hotter as it draws near to the final issue. 

Vers. 4 — 6. The sufferer reminds Jahve of the contra- 
diction between the long season of helplessness and His 
readiness to help so frequently and so promptly attested. 
nnxi opens an adverbial clause of the counterargument: 
although Thou art . . . Jahve is tfllp, absolutely pure, lit. 
separated (root np, Jj>, to cut, part, just as tahura, the 
synonym of kadusa, is the intransitive of tahara «= ab'ada, to 
remove to a distance, and 13 pure, clean, radically distinct 
from pu-rus, goes back to *na to sever), viz. from that 

Digitized by 


312 PSALM XXIL 7—0 

which is worldly and common, in one word: holy. Jahve 
is holy, and has shewn Himself such as the ni^nn of Israel 
solemnly affirm, npon which or among which He sits 
enthroned. ni^DD are the songs of praise offered to God 
on account of His attributes and deeds, which are worthy 
of praise (these are even called n^DD in lxxviii. 4, Exod. 
XT. 11, Isa. lxiii. 7), and in fact presented in His sanctuary 
(Isa. lxiv. 10). The combination rflfrrin 3Bfi> (with the accu- 
sative of the verbs of dwelling and tarrying) is like acT 
Dr3~)3, xcix. 1, lxxx. 2. The songs of praise, which resounded 
in Israel as the memorials of His deeds of deliverance, are 
like the wings of the cherubim, upon which His presence 
hovered in Israel. In vers. 5, 6, the praying one brings to 
remembrance this graciously glorious self-attestation of God, 
who as the Holy One always, from the earliest times, 
acknowledged those who fear Him in opposition to their 
persecutors and justified their confidence in Himself. In 
ver. 5 trust and rescue are put in the connection of cause 
and effect; in ver. 6 in reciprocal relation. zhB and B^O 
are only distinguished by the harder and softer sibilants, 
cf. xvii. 13 with cxvi. 4. It need not seem strange that such 
thoughts were at work in the soul of the Crucified One, 
since His divine-human consciousness was, on its human 
side, thoroughly Israelitish; and the God of Israel is also 
the God of salvation; redemption is that which He himself 
determined, why, then, should He not speedily deliver the 

Vers. 7 — 9. The sufferer complains of the greatness of 
his reproach, in order to move Jahve, who is Himself in- 
volved therein, to send him speedy succour. Notwith- 
standing his cry for help, he is in the deepest affliction 
without rescue. Every word of ver. 7 is echoed in the second 
part of the Book of Isaiah. There, as here, Israel is called 
a worm, ch. xli. 14; there all these traits of suffering are 
found in the picture of the Servant of God, ch. xlix. 7, liii. 
3, cf. 1. 6, and especially Hi. 14 "so marred was His appear- 
ance, that He no longer looked like a man." nj£in is more 
particularly the kermes, or cochineal (vermiculus, whence 
color vermiculi, vermeil, vermiglio); but the point of com- 
parison in the present instance is not the blood-red appear- 

Digitized by 


PSALM. XXIL 10—12. 313 

ance, but the suffering so utterly defenceless and even 
ignominious. Djj is gen. subj., like v|j, Isa. xlix. 7. Jerome 
well renders the 2Eoo6eva>p.a Xaou of the LXX. by abjectio 
(Tortullian: nullificamen) plebis, not populi. The Ue|M>xTijpi» 
odv (i£, by which the LXX. translates 'b wyb\ is used by 
Luke, ch. zziii. 35, cf. xvi. 14, in the history of the Passion; 
fulfilment and prediction so exactly coincide, that no more 
adequate expressions can be found in writing the gospel 
history than those presented by prophecy. In DBt^a TEfiH, 
what appears in other instances as the object of the action 
(to open the mouth wide, diducere labia), is regarded as the 
means of its execution; so that the verbal notion being 
rendered complete has its object in itself: to make an open- 
ing with the mouth, cf. PIB3 "1JJQ, Job xvi. 10, ^ipa iro lxviii. 
34; Ges. § 138, 1, rem. 3. The shaking of the head is, as in 
cix. 25, cf. xliv. 15, lxiv. 9, a gesture of surprise and asto- 
nishment at something unexpected and strange, not a 
itpoove6eiv approving the injury of another, although jro, "Rj, 
too, veu-», nu-t-o, nic-to, neigen, nicken, all form one family of 
roots. In ver. 9 the words of the mockers follow without 
Tbt6. hi is not the 3 preet. (LXX., cf. Mat. xxvii. 43) like 
11N, &&; it is not only in Piel (Jer. xi. 20, xx. 12, where 
VY^a — ^Pb\i, Ew. § 121, a) that it is transitive, but even in 
Kal\ nor is it inf. absol. in the sense of the imperative (Hitz., 
Bottch.), although this infinitive form is found, but always 
only as an inf. Mens. (Numb, xxiii. 25, Ruth ii. 16, cf. Isa. 
xxiv. 19); but, in accordance with the parallels xxxvii. 5 
(where it is written bvi), Prov. xvi. 3, cf. Ps. lv. 23, 1 Pet. 
v. 7, it is imperat.: roll, viz. thy doing and thy suffering to 
Jahve, i. e. commit it to Him. The mockers call out this 
hi to the sufferer, and the rest they say of him with mali- 
cious looks askance. >3 in the mouth of the foes is not con- 
firmatory as in xviii. 20, but a conditional liv (in case, 
provided that). 

Vers. 10 — 12. The sufferer pleads that God should 
respond to his trust in Him, on the ground that this trust 
is made an object of mockery. With >3 he establishes the 
reality of the loving relationship in which he stands to God, 
at which his foes mock. The intermediate thought, which is 
not expressed, "and so it really is", is confirmed; and thus 

Digitized by 


314 PSALM XXII. 10 — 12. 

•O comes to have an affirmative signification. The verb 
TjM (nu) signifies both intransitive: to break forth (from 
the womb), Job xxxviii. 8, and transitive: to push for- 
ward (cf. *ya»0, more especially, the fruit of the womb, Mic. 

iv. 10. It might be taken here in the first signification: 
my breaking forth, equivalent to "the cause of my breaking 
forth" (Hengstenberg, Baur, and others); but there is no 
need for this metonymy. >nj is either part, equivalent to 
VA , my pusher forth, t. e. he who causes me to break forth, 
or, — since nu in a causative signification cannot be sup- 
ported, and participles like DD stamping and tslb veiling 
(Ges. § 72, rem. 1) are nowhere found with a suffix, — 
participle of a verb DP13, to draw forth (Hitz.), which per- 
haps only takes the place, per metaplasmum, of the Pil. 
XTii with the uneuphonic TiniD (Ewald S. 859, Addenda). 
Ps. bcxi. has nU (ver. 6) instead of TU, just as it has '111330 
(ver. 5) instead of 'rPtDSD. The Hiph. rTt22ri does not merely 
mean to make secure (Hupf.), but to cause to trust. Accord- 
ing to biblical conception, there is even in the new-born 
child, yea in the child yet unborn and only living in the 
womb, a glimmering consciousness springing up out of the 
remotest depths of unconsciousness (Psychol. S. 215; transl, 
p. 254). Therefore, when the praying one says, that from 
the womb he has been cast* upon Jahve, i. e. directed to 
go to Him, and to Him alone, with all his wants and care 
(lv. 23, cf. lxxi. 6), that from the womb onwards Jahve was 
his God, there is also more in it than the purely objective 
idea, that he grew up into such a relationship to God. 
Twice he mentions his mother. Throughout the Old Test- 
ament there is never any mention made of a human father, 
or begetter, to the Messiah, but always only of His mother, 
or her who bare Him. And the words of the praying one 
here also imply that the beginning of his life, as regards its 
outward circumstances, was amidst poverty, which like- 

* The Iloph. has o, not u, perhaps in a more neuter sense, more 
closely approximating to the reflexive (cf. Eiek. xxxii. 19 with xxxii. 
32), rather than a purely passive. Such is apparently the feeling of 
the language, vid. B. Megilla 13a (and also the explanation in Tostfoth). 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXII. 13—15. 815 

wise accords with the picture of Christ as drawn "both in 
the Old and New Testaments. On the ground of his fellow- 
ship with God, which extends so far back, goes forth the 
cry for help (ver. 12), which has been faintly heard through 
all the preceding verses, but now only comes to direct utter- 
ance for the first time. The two >3 are alike. That the 
necessity is near at hand, i. e. urgent, refers back antitheti- 
cally to the prayer, that God would not remain afar off; no 
one doth, nor can help except He alone. Here the first 
section closes. 

Vers. 13 — 14. Looking back upon his relationship to 
God, which has existed from the earliest times, the sufferer 
has become somewhat more calm, and is ready, in vers. 
13 — 22, to describe his outward and inner life, and thus to 
unburden his heart. Here he calls his enemies D'"]B, bul- 
locks, and in fact jt^ i"V2{< (cf. 1. 13 with Deut. xxxii. 14), 
strong ones of Bashan, the land rich in luxuriant oak forests 
and fat pastures (]Cd = buthene, which in the Beduin dialect 
means rich, stoneless meadow-land, vid. Job S. 509 f.; tr. 
ii. pp. 399 sq.) north of Jabbok extending as far as to the 
borders of Hermon, the land of Og and afterwards of Ma- 
nasseh (Num. xxx. 1). They are so called on account of 
their robustness and vigour, which, being acquired and 
used in opposition to God is brutish rather than human (cf. 
Amos iv. 1). Figures like these drawn from the animal 
world and applied in an ethical sense are explained by the 
fact, that the ancients measured the instincts of animals 
according to the moral rules of human nature; but more 
deeply by the fact, that according to the indisputable con- 
ception of Scripture, since man was made to fall by Satan 
through the agency of an animal, the animal and Satan are 
the two dominant powers in Adamic humanity. 1FI3 is a 
climacticsynonym of D2D. On ver. 14a compare the echoes 
in Jeremiah, Lam. ii. 16, iii. 46. Finally, the foes are 
all comprehended under the figure of a lion, which, as 
soon as he sights his prey, begins to roar, Amos iii. 4. The 
Hebrew f)-VS, discerpere, according to its root, belongs to 
rpn, carpere. They are instar leonis dilaniaturi et rugientis. 

Vers. 15 — 16. Now he describes, how, thus encompass- 
ed round, he is still just living, but already as it were dead. 

Digitized by 


316 PSALM XXn. 15— 10. 

The being poured out like water reminds us of the ignomi- 
nious abandonment of the Crucified One to a condition of 
weakness, in which His life, deprived of its natural support, 
is in the act of dissolution, and its powers dried up (2 Sam. 
xiv. 14); the bones being stretched out, of the forcible 
stretching out of His body (TTSriri, from "H© to separate, 
cf. 4>«j according to its radical signification, which has 
been preserved in the common Arabic dialect: so to spread 
out or apart that the thing has no bends or folds,* Greek 
IfcxitXoov); the heart being melted, recalls His burning an- 
guish, the inflammation of the wounds, and the pressure of 
blood on the head and heart, the characteristic cause of 
death by crucifixion. DC3, in pause DD3, is 3 preet.; wax, 
SJIT, receives its name from its melting (3D, root n, tijx). 
In ver. 16 the comparison tsnro has reference to the issue or 
result (vid. xviii. 43): my strength is dried up, so that it is 
become like a potsherd. >3n (Saadia) instead of iT}3 com- 
mends itself, unless, lis perhaps, like the Talmudic ITS, 
also had the signification "spittle" (as a more dignified word 
for ph). ]1b6, with the exception perhaps of Prov. xxvi. 
28, is uniformly feminine; here the predicate has the mas- 
culine ground-form without respect to the subject. The 
part. pass, has a tendency generally to be used without 
reference to gender, under the influence of the construction 
laid down in Ges. § 143, 1, b, according to which *ob6 may be 
treated as an accusative of the object; 'Hlp^D, however, is 
ace. loci (cf. b exxxvii. 6, Job xxix. 10; bit Lam. iv. 4, Ezek. 
iii. 26) : my tongue is made to cleave to my jaws, fauces meas. 
Such is his state in consequence of outward distresses. His 
enemies, however, would not have power to do all this, if 
God had not given it to them. Thus it is, so to speak, God 
Himself who lays him low in death. riBB' to put anywhere, 
to lay, with the accompanying idea of firmness and duration, 
yyUi", Isa. xxvi. 12; the future is used of that which is just 
taking place. Just in like manner, in Isa. liii., the death of 
the Servant of God is spoken of not merely as happening 
thus, but as decreed; and not merely as permitted by God, 
but as being in accordance with the divine will. David is per- 

• vid. Bocthor, Diet, frang.-arabe, s. v. Etendre and Deployer. 

Digitized by 


PSAIM XXII. 17—19. 317 

secuted by Saul, the king of His people, almost to the 
death; Jesus, however, is delivered over by the Sanhedrim, 
the authority of His people, to the heathen, under whose 
hands He actually dies the death of the cross: it is a judi- 
cial murder put into execution according to the conditions 
and circumstances of the age; viewed, however, as to its 
final cause, it is a gracious dispensation of the holy God, 
in whose hands all the paths of the world's history run 
parallel, and who in this instance makes sin subservient to 
its own expiation. 

Vers. 17 — 19. A continuation, referring back to ver. 
12, of the complaint of him who is dying and is already as 
it were dead. In the animal name 0^3, figuratively 
descriptive of character, beside shamelessness and meanness, 
special prominence is given to the propensity for biting 
and worrying, t. e. for persecuting; hence Symmachus and 
Theodotion render it 6i)p£xat, xortfl&xai. In ver. 17ft rr<H 
Cjrio takes the place of D^3; and this again is followed 
by P)'j?n in the plur. (to do anything in a circle, to surround 
by forming a circle round, a climactic synonym, like ")P)3 
to 22D) either per attractionem (cf. cxl. 10, 1 Sam. ii. 4), or 
on account of the collective my.. Tertullian renders it 
synagoga maleficorum, Jerome concilium pessimorum. But a 
faction gathered together for some evil purpose is also 
called rng, e. g. TTp rnjJ. In ver. 17c the meaning of 
ntO, instar leonis, is either that, selecting a point of attack, 
they make the rounds of his hands and feet, just as a lion 
does its prey upon which it springs as soon as its prey stirs; 
or, that, standing round about him like lions, they make 
all defence impossible to his hands, and all escape imposs- 
ible to his feet. But whether we take this V?m *T as 

T I -I -T 

accusative of the members beside the accusative of the 
person (vid. xvii. 11), or as the object of the iB'pn to be 
supplied from ver. 17 b, it still remains harsh and draw- 
ling so far as the language is concerned. Perceiving 
this, the Masora on Isa. xxxviii. 13 observes, that vins, in 
the two passages in which it occurs (Ps. xxii. 17, Isa. 
xxxviii. 13), occurs in two different meanings (ixttb '"llTO); 
just as the Midrash then also understands nto in the Psalm 
as a verb used of marking with conjuring, magic cha- 

Digitized by 


318 PSALM XXH. 17—19. 

racters.* Is the meaning of the Masora that '"INS, in the 
passage before ns, is equivalent to CltO? If so the form 
'would be doubly Aramaic: both the participial form itO 
(which only occurs in Hebrew in verbs med. E) and the 
apocopated plural, the occurrence of which in Hebrew is 
certainly, with Gesenius and Ewald, to be acknowledged in 
rare instances (vid. xlv. 9, and compare on the other hand 
2 Sam. xxii. 44), but which would here be a capricious 
form of expression most liable to be misapprehended. If 
'ItO is to be understood as a verb, then it ought to be 
read t^jb. Tradition is here manifestly unreliable. Even 
in MSS. the readings n*0 and nto are found. The former is 
attested both by the Masora on Num. xxiv. 9 and by Jacob 
ben Chajim in the Masora finalis as a MS. Chethib.** Even 
the Targum, which renders mordent sicut leo manus et pedes 
meos, bears witness to the ancient hesitancy between the 
substantival and verbal rendering of the ntO. The other 
ancient versions have, without any doubt, read TWO. Aquila 
in the 1st edition of his translation rendered it {<>x uav 
(from the Aramaic and Talmudic "ins = ijd to soil, part. 
"TOO, dirty, nasty); but this is not applicable to hands and 
feet, and therefore has nothing to stand upon. In the 2nd 
edition of his translation the same Aquila had instead of 

* Hupfeld suspects this Masoretic remark (IDS pSDp '3 ntd 
MUft>) as a Christian interpolation, bat it occurs in the alphabetical 
Maaoretb register ''Xhb '"Via prmni '3 '3. Even Elias Levita speaks 
of it with astonishment (in his mDDfl mDD [ed. Ginsburg, p. 253]) 
without donbting its genuineness, which must therefore have been con- 
firmed, to his mind, by MS. authority. Heidenheim also cites it in hit 
edition of the Pentateuch, BO'V "i)ND, on Num. xxiv. 9; and down to 
the present time no suspicion has been expressed on the part of Jewish 
critics, although all kinds of unsatisfactory attempts have been made 
to explain this Masoretic remark (e. g. in the periodical Biccure ha- 

** The authenticity of this statement of the Masora y bxv 'T nM 
3TC T\tO may be disputed, especially since Jacob ben Cbajira be- 
came a convert to Christianity, and other Masoretic testimonies do not 
mention a 3YD1 Hp to TOO; nevertheless, in this instance, it would 
be premature to say that this statement is interpolated. Ant. Hulsios 
in his edition of the Psalter (1650) has written TOO in the margin 
accoriing to the text of the Complutensis. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXII. 17—19. 319 

this, like Symmachus, "they have hound",* after *D, jfj to 

twist, lace ; hut this rendering is improbable since the He- 
brew has other words for "to bind", constringere. On the 
other hand nothing of any weight can be urged against the 
rendering of the LXX. wpogetv (Peshito ipD, Vulg. foderunt, 
Jer. fixerunt); for (1) even if we do not suppose any special 
verb "1N2, ntO can be expanded from n| (113) = rj| (~")3) 
just in the same manner as DDJO, Zech. xiv. 10 from DQ1, 
cf. Wȣj3 Dan. vii. 16. And' (2) that -)13 and J"n3 can 
signify not merely to dig out and dig into, engrave, but 
also to dig through, pierce, is shewn, — apart from the 
derivative TTOO (the similarity of the sound of which to 
pa^cupa from the root pax, maksh, mraksh, is only acci- 
dental), — by the double meaning of the verbs *lpj, 
Jpoooeiv («. g. dpoooeiv tiv io8p.6v Herod, i. 174), fodere 
(hastd) ; the LXX. version of Ps. xl. 7 would also support 
this meaning, if xaxstp^oco (from xaxatitpav) in that passage 
had been the original reading instead of xatijptioa). If 
T1N3 be read, then ver. 17c, applied to David, perhaps 
under the influence of the figure of the attacking dogs 
(Bohl), says that the wicked bored into his hands and feet, 
and thus have made him fast, so that he is inevitably 
abandoned to their inhuman desires. The fulfilment in 
the nailing of the hands and (at least, the binding fast) of 
the feet of the Crucified One to the cross is clear. This is 
not the only passage in which it is predicted that the future 
Christ shall be murderously pierced; but it is the same in 
Isa. liii. 5 where He is said to be pierced (bhhd) on account 
of our sins, and in Zech. xii. 10, where Jahve describes 
Himself as exxevtT|6ei« in Him. 

Thus, therefore, the reading nK3 might at least have an 
equal right to be recognised with the present recepta, for which 
Hupfeld and Hitzig demand exclusive recognition; while 
Bottcher, — who reads '"Wb, and gives this the meaning 

* Also in Jerome's independent translation the reading vinxerunt is 
found by the side of fixerunt, just as Abraham of Xante paraphrases 
it in his paraphrase of the Psalter in rhyme nop *bs"\\ *i \ '"INS D£. 
The want of a verb is too perceptible. Saadia supplies it in a different 
way "they compass me as a lion, to crush my hands and feet." 

Digitized by 


320 PSALM XXII. 17—19. 

"springing round about (after the manner of dogs)", — 
regards the sicut leo as "a production of meagre Jewish 
wit"; and also Thenius after taking all possible pains to 
clear it up gives it up as hopeless, and with Meier, adopt- 
ing a different division of the verse, renders it : "a mob of 
the wicked has encompassed me like lions. On my hands 
and feet I can count all my bones." But then, how nfcO 
comes limping on after the restl And how lamely does 
i^yil ryt precede ver. 18! How unnaturally does it limit 
'nibsy, with which one chiefly associates the thought of the 
breast and ribs, to the hands and feet I 1DDN is potienUalit. 
Above in ver. 15 he has said that his bones are out of joint. 
There is no more reason for regarding this "I can count 
&c." as referring to emaciation from grief, than there is 
for regarding the former as referring to writhing with 
agony. He can count them because he is forcibly stretch- 
ed out, and thereby all his bones stand out. In this 
condition he is a mockery to his foes, to^sn signifies the 
turning of one's gaze to anything, 3 riN"l the fixing of one's 
sight upon it with pleasure. In ver. 19 a new feature is 
added to those that extend far beyond David himself: they 
part my garments among them ... It does not say they 
purpose doing it, they do it merely in their mind, but they 
do it in reality. This never happened to David, or at least 
not in the literal sense of his words, in which it has happ- 
ened to Christ. In Him ver. 19a and 196 are literally ful- 
filled. The parting of the O^aa by the soldiers dividing 
His Ijiaxia among them into four parts; the casting lots upon 
the BnaS by their not dividing the xit&v oj^a<po{, but casting 
lots for it, John xix. 23 sq. uftb is the garment which is put 
on the body that it may not be bare; DHJ3 the clothes, 
which one wraps around one's self for a covering; hence 
]tf>cb is punningly explained in B. Sabbath lib by TW\2 xb 
(with which one has no need to be ashamed of being naked) 
in distinction from nwbi, a mantle (that through which one 
appears obua, because it conceals the outline of the body). 
In Job xxiv. 7, and frequently, Ciab is an undergarment, or 
shirt, what in Arabic is called absolutely v_>«jj thob "the 
garment", or expressed according to the Roman distinction: 
the tunica in distinction from the toga, whose exact desig- 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXII. 20—31 321 

nation is ^j». With ver. 19 of this Psalm it is exactly as 
with Zech. iz. 9, cf. Mat. zzi. 5; in this instance also, the 
fulfilment has realised that which, in both phases of the 
synonymous expression, is seemingly identical.* 

Vers. 20 — 22. In ver. 19 the description of affliction 
has reached its climax, for the parting of, and casting lots 
for, the garments assumes the certain death of the sufferer 
in the mind of the enemies. In ver. 20, with riFINl the looks 
of the sufferer, in the face of his manifold torments, con- 
centrate themselves all at once upon J alive. He calls Him 
wfrtt turn, dbstr. from b'K, lxxxviii. 5 : the very essence of 
strength, as it were the idea, or the ideal of strength; le- 
'ezrathi has the accent on the penult., as in lxxi. 12 (cf. on 
the other hand xxxviii. 23), in order that two tone syllables 
may not come together. In ver. 21, 3*10 means the deadly 
weapon of the enemy and is used exemplificatively. In the 
expression d??) TO, "PD is not merely equivalent to |», but 
"P is, according to the sense, equivalent to "paw" (cf. F)3, 
Lev. xi. 27), as •>£) is equivalent to jaws; although elsewhere 
not only the expression "hand of the lion and of the bear", 
1 Sam. xvii. 37, but also "hands of the sword", Ps. lxiii. 11, 
and even "hand of the flame", Isa. xlvii. 14 are used, inas- 
much as "P is the general designation of that which acts, 
seizes, and subjugates, as the instrument of the act. Just 
as in connection with the dog T, and in connection with the 
lion >B (cf., however, Dan. vi. 28) is mentioned as its weap- 
on of attack, the horns, not the horn (also not in Deut. 
xxxiii. 17), are mentioned in connection with antilopes, 
CQi (a shorter form, occurring only in this passage, for 
O'CN*], xxix. 6, Isa. xxxiv. 7). Nevertheless, Luther follow- 
ing the LXX. and Vulgate, renders it "rescue me from the 
unicorns* (vid. thereon on xxix. 6). rnTP, as the parallel 
member here and in xxxv. 17 shews, is an epithet of B'SJ. 
The LXX. in both instances renders it correctly ttjv |tovo-]fsvTJ 
|iot>, Yulg. unicam tneam, according to Gen. xxii. 2, Judges 
xi. 34, the one soul besides which man has no second, the 

* On such fulfilments of prophecy, literal beyond all expectation, 
Bid. Saat auf Hoffnung iii., 3, 47—51. 

vol. I 21 

Digitized by 


322 PBALM XXII. 23—24. 

one life besides which man has no second to lose, applied 
subjectively, that is, soul or life as the dearest and most 
precious thing, cf. Homer's ? tXov xijp. It is also interpreted 
according to xxv. 16, lxviii. 7: my solitary one, solitariwn, 
the aoul as forsaken by God and man, or at least by man, 
and abandoned to its own self (Hupfeld, Kamphausen, and 
others). But the parallel '#&), and the analogy of HttD 
(—• ntfEO), stamp it as an universal name for the soul: the 
single one, i. e. that which does not exist in duplicate, and 
consequently that which cannot be replaced, when lost. The 
preet. W'JJ? might be equivalent to '33g, provided it is a 
perf. consec. deprived of its Warn convert, in favour of the 
placing of D'0"1 V"pp first for the sake of emphasis; but 
considering the turn which the Psalm takes in ver. 23, it 
must be regarded as perf. confidential, inasmuch as in the 
very midst of his supplication there springs up in the mind 
of the suppliant the assurance of being heard and answered. 
To answer from the horns of the antilope is equivalent to 
hearing and rescuing from them; cf. the equally pregnant 
expression 2 ?"DJ? cxviii. 5, perhaps also Hebr. v. 7.* 

Vers. 23—24. In the third section, vers. 23 — 32, the 
great plaintive prayer closes with thanksgiving and hope. 
In certainty of being answered, follows the vow of thanks- 
giving. He calls his fellow-country men, who are connected 
with him by the ties of nature, but, as what follows, viz. 
"ye that fear Jahve" shews, also by the ties of spirit, "breth- 
ren", bnfj (from ^>rij3 = bp, xaX-s», cal-o, Sanscr. leal, to 
resound) coincides with £xxXi)oia. The sufferer is conscious 
of the significance of his lot of suffering in relation to the 
working out of the history of redemption. Therefore he 
will make that salvation which he has experienced common 
property. The congregation or church shall hear the 
evangel of his rescue. In ver. 24 follows the introduction 
to this announcement, which is addressed to the whole of 
Israel, so far as it fears the God of revelation. Instead of 
ntJl the text of the Orientals (wmio), i. e. Babylonians, 

* Thrnpp in his Emendations on the Psalm* {Journal of Classic and 
Sacred Philology, 1860) suggests ViyjJ, my poverty (my poor soul), 
instead of 'ITMy. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXn. 26—27. 323 

had here the Chethib VTCP with the Xertlfttii the introduction 
of the jussive (xxxiii. 8) after the two imperatives would 
not he inappropriate, jp Tiil (— *i]p) is a stronger form of 
expression for }c n*v , xxxiii. 8. 

Ver. 25. This tristich is the evangel itself. The materia 
laudis is introduced by '3 . niJJJ (principal form niJjj) bend- 
ing, bowing down, affliction, from D$, the proper word to 
denote the Passion. For in Isaiah, ch. liii. 4, 7, the Ser- 
vant of God is also said to be n3j?D and HJjy, and Zecha- 
riah, ch. ix. 9, also introduces Him as \jj> and yufc. The 
LXX., Vulgate, and Targum erroneously render it "cry". 
njJJ does not mean to cry, but to answer, 6[xetj3so0<u; here, 
however, as the stem-word of may, it means to be bent. 
From the y^tf (to regard as an abhorrence), which alter- 
nates with DT2, we see that the sufferer felt the wrath of 
God, but this has changed into a love that sends help; God 
did not long keep His countenance hidden, He hearkened to 
him, for his prayer was well-pleasing to Him. yrytf is not 
the verbal adjective, but, since we have the definite fact of 
the rescue before us, it is a pausal form for yati, as in 
xxxiv. 7, 18, Jer. xxxvi. 13. 

Vers. 26 — 27. The call to thanksgiving is now ended; 
and there follows a grateful upward glance towards the 
Author of the salvation; and this grateful upward glance 
grows into a prophetic view of the future. This fact, that 
the sufferer is able thus to glory and give thanks in the 
great congregation (xl. 10), proceeds from Jahve (nNO as in 
cxviii. 23, cf. lxxi. 6). The first half of the verse, accord- 
ing to Baer's correct accentuation, closes with 3T ^nj32. 
T»N"V does not refer to ^Hj?, but, as everywhere else, is 
meant to be referred to Jahve , since the address of prayer 
passes over into a declarative utterance. It is not neces- 
sary in this passage to suppose, that in the mind of David 
the paying of vows is purely ethical, and not a ritualistic 
act. Being rescued he will bring the TU >»*?#, which it is 
his duty to offer, the thank-offerings, which he vowed to 
God when in the extremest peril. When the sprinkling 
with blood (PlfP*]]) and the laying of the fat pieces upon the 
altar (rntpfCl) were completed, the remaining flesh of the 
shelamim was used by the offerer to make a joyous meal; 


Digitized by 


324 PSALM XXII. 27—28. 

and the time allowed for this feasting was the day of offer- 
ing and on into the night in connection with the toda-she- 
lamim offering, and in connection with the shelamim of 
vows even the following day also (Lev. vii. 15 sq.). The 
invitation of the poor to share in it, which the law does not 
command, is rendered probable by these appointments of 
the law, and expressly commended by other and analogous 
appointments concerning the second and third tithes. 
Ver. 27 refers to this: he will invite the 0>1JJ>, those who 
are outwardly and spiritually poor, to this "eating before 
Jahve"; it is to be a meal for which they thank God, who 
has bestowed it upon them through him whom He has thus 
rescued. Yer. 27c is as it were the. host's blessing upon his 
guests, or rather Jahve's guests through him : "your heart live 
for ever", i. e. may this meal impart to you ever enduring 
refreshment. i|T optative of rvn, here used of the reviving 
of the heart, which is as it were dead (1 Sam. xxv. 37), to 
spiritual joy. The referrence to the ritual of the peace 
offerings is very obvious. And it is not less obvious, that 
the blessing, which, for all who can be saved, springs from 
the salvation that has fallen to the lot of the sufferer, is 
here set forth. But it is just as clear, that this blessing 
consists in something much higher than the material advan- 
tage, which the share in the enjoyment of the animal sacri- 
fice imparts ; the sacrifice has its spiritual meaning, so that 
its outward forms are lowered as it were to a mere figure of 
its true nature; it relates to a spiritual enjoyment of spiritual 
and lasting results. How natural, then, is the thought of 
the sacramental eucharist, in which the second David, like 
to the first, having attained to the throne through the 
suffering of death, makes us partakers of the fruits of 
His suffering I 

Vers. 28 — 32. The long line closing strophe, which 
forms as it were the pedestal to the whole, shews how far 
not only the description of the affliction of him who is speak- 
ing here, but also the description of the results of his res- 
cue, transcend the historical reality of David's experience. 
The sufferer expects, as the fruit of the proclamation of 
that which Jahve has done for him, the conversion of all 
peoples. The heathen have become forgetful and will again 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXIL 29-30. 325 

recollect themselves; the object, in itself clear enough in 
ix. 18, becomes clear from what follows: there is a ifvtoot? 
too 6eou (Psychol S. 346 ff.; tr. pp. 407 sqq.) among the 
heathen, which the announcement of the rescue of this 
afflicted one will bring back to their consciousness.* This 
prospect (Jer. xvi. 19 sqq.) is, in ver. 29 (cf. Jer. x. 7), 
based upon Jahve's right of kingship oyer all peoples. 
A ruler is called ^o as being exalted above others by vir- 
tue of his office (^O according to its primary meaning ■■ 
Jk&o, erectum stare, synonymous with |rp, vid. on ex. 4, cf. 
"icy Mic. v. 3). In btthyi we have the part, used like the 3 
prat., without any mark of the person (cf. vii. 10, lv. 20), to 
express the pure prees., and, so to speak, as tempus durans: 
He rules among the nations (S6vr)). The conversion of the 
heathen by that sermon will, therefore, be the realisation 
of the kingdom of God. 

Ver. 30. The eating is here again brought to mind. The 
perfect, i^jdn, and the future of sequence, IFIFU^.1, stand to 
one another in the relation of cause and effect! It is, as 
is clear from ver. 27, an eating that satisfies the soul, a 
spiritual meal, that is intended, and in fact, one that is 
brought about by the mighty act of rescue God has wrought. 
At the close of Ps. lxix, where the form of the ritual thank- 
offering is straightway ignored, «n (ver. 33) takes the place 
of the i?3N. There it is the view of one who is rescued and 
who thankfully glorifies God, which leads to others sharing 
with him in the enjoyment of the salvation he has experi- 
enced; here it is an actual enjoyment of it, the joy, spring- 
ing from thankfulness, manifesting itself not merely in words 
but in a thank-offering feast, at which, in Israel, those who 
long for salvation are the invited quests, for with them it is 
an acknowledgment of the mighty act of a God whom they 
already know; but among the heathen, men of the most 
diversified conditions, the richest and the poorest, for to 
them it is a favour unexpectedly brought to them, and which 
is all the more gratefully embraced by them on that account. 
So magnificent shall be the feast, that all pNHjBfcj, i". e. 

* Augustin I>e irinitaie xiv. 13, Son igilur sic erant oblita ista gentet 
Dcum, ut cju* nee commemorate recordarentur. 

Digitized by 


326 PSALM XXII. 30—31. 

those who stand out prominently before the world and 
before their own countrymen by reason of the abundance 
of their temporal possessions (compare on the ascensive use 
of yix, lxxv. 9, lxxvi. 10, Isa. xxiii. 9), choose it before this 
abundance, in which they might revel, and, on account of 
the grace and glory which the celebration includes within 
itself, they bow down and worship. In antithesis to the "fat 
ones of the earth" stand those who go down to the dust 
(*1B^, always used in this formula of the dust of the grave, 
like the Arabic turab) by reason of poverty and care. In 
the place of the participle nnV we now have with 1#BJI t (— 
WBJ IBW) a clause with n?i , which has the value [of a 
relative clause (as in xlix. 21, lxxviii. 39, Prov. iz. 13, and 
frequently) : and they who have not heretofore prolonged and 
could not prolong their life (Ges. § 123, 3, c). By compar- 
ing Phil. ii. 10 Hupfeld understands it to be those who are 
actually dead ; so that it would mean, His kingdom extends 
to the living and the dead, to this world and the nether 
world. But any idea of a thankful adoration of God on the 
part of the dwellers in Hades is alien to the Old Testament ; 
and there is nothing to force us to it here, since isj; *T|V , 
can just as well mean descensuri as qui descenderunl , and 
WB3 Djn (also in Ezek. xviii. 27) means to preserve his own 
life, — a phrase which can be used in the sense of vitam 
sustentare and of conservare with equal propriety. It is, 
therefore, those who are almost dead already with care and 
want, these also (and how thankfully do these very ones) 
go down upon their knees, because they are accounted 
worthy to be guests at this table. It is the same great feast, 
of which Isaiah, ch. xxv. 6, prophesies, and which he there 
accompanies with the music of his words. And the result 
of this evangel of the mighty act of rescue is not only of 
boundless universality, but also of unlimited duration: it 
propagates itself from one generation to another. 

Formerly we interpreted ver. 31 "a seed, which shall 
serve Him, shall be reckoned to the Lord for a generation;" 
taking 1BD 1 as a metaphor applying to the census, 2 Chron. 
ii. 16, cf. Ps. lxxxvii. 6, and ~\Vb, according to xxiv. 6 and 
other passages, as used of a totality of one kind, as y-jl of 
the whole body of those of the same race. But the connec- 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXII. 31—32. 327 

iion makes it more natural to take "in in a genealogical 
sense; and, moreover, with the former interpretation it 
ought to have heen "yph instead of TH^. We must there- 
fore retain the customary interpretation: "a seed (posterity) 
shall serve Him, it shall be told concerning the Lord to 
the generation (to come)*. Decisive in favour of this inter- 
pretation is Hlb with the following itfaj, by which "in 
acquires the meaning of the future generation, exactly as 
in lxxi. 18, inasmuch as it at once becomes clear, that three 
generations are distinctly mentioned, viz. that of the fathers 
who turn unto Jahve, ver. 30, that of the coming "in, ver. 
31, and "6l3 OJ/, to whom the news of the salvation is pro- 
pagated by this "in, ver. 32: "They shall come («13 as in 
lxxi. 18: to come into being), and shall declare His right- 
eousness to the people that shall be born, that He hath 
finished." Accordingly jru is the principal notion, which 
divides itself into (W3*) in and "6lJ Oj>; from which it is 
at once clear, why the expression could be thus general, "a 
posterity", inasmuch as it is defined by what follows. Dp 
"6l J is the people which shall be born, or whose birth is 
near at hand (lxxviii. 6) ; the LXX. well renders it: Xawji ?$ 
texfo)oo|*lv<p (cf. cii. 19 X~D\ OJJ populus creandus). 1DJ3TS is 
the StxatoouvT) of God, which has become manifest in the 
rescue of the great sufferer. That He did not suffer him 
to come down to the very border of death without snatch- 
ing him out of the way of his murderous foes and raising 
him to a still greater glory, this was divine nj3"12t. That He 
did not snatch him out of the way of his murderous foes 
without suffering him to be on the point of death — even 
this wrathful phase of the divine rifVTS, is indicated in ver. 
16c , but then only very remotely. For the fact, that the 
Servant of God, before spreading the feast accompanying 
the shelamim (thank-offering) in which He makes the whole 
world participants in the fruit of His suffering, offered Him- 
self as an asham (sin-offering), does not become a subject of 
prophetic revelation until later on, and then under other 
typical relationships. The nature of the nfc'jj, which is in 
accordance with the determinate counsel of God, is only 
gradually disclosed in the Old Testament. This one word, 
so full of meaning (as in lii. 11, xxxvii. 5, Isa. xliv. 23), 

Digitized by 



implying the carrying through of the work of redemption, 
which is prefigured in David, comprehends everything with- 
in itself. It may be compared to the nWtr^b, Gen. ii. 3, at 
the close of the history of the creation. It is the last word 
of the Psalm, just as ts-ciXeorai is the last word of the Cru- 
cified One. The substance of the gospel in its preparatory 
history and its fulfilment, of the declaration concerning God 
which passes from generation to generation, is this, that God 
has accomplished what He planned when He anointed the 
son of Jesse and the Son of David as mediator in His work 
of redemption; that He accomplished it by leading the for- 
mer through affliction to the throne, and making the cross 
to the latter a ladder leading up to heaven. 



1 JAHVE is my Shepherd, I shall not want. 

2 In green pastures He maketh me to lie down, 
Beside still waters He leadeth me. 

3 My soul He restoreth, 

He leadeth me in right paths — 
For His Name's sake. 

4 Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of 

I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me, 
Thy rod and Thy staff — they comfort me. 

5 Thou preparest me a table in the presence of mine 

Thou anointest my head with oil, 
My cup is fulness. 

6 Only prosperity and mercy shall follow me 
All the days of my life, 

And again shall I dwell in the house of Jahvc 
For length of days 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXUI. 1—3. 329 

The arrangement , by which a Psalm that speaks of a 
great feast of mercy prepared for mankind is followed by a 
Psalm that praises Jahve as the Shepherd and Host of His 
own people, could not possibly be more sensible and appro- 
priate. 4 If David is the author, and there is no reason for 
doubting it, then this Psalm belongs to the time of the 
rebellion under Absolom, and this supposition is confirmed 
on every hand. It is like an amplification of iv. 8; and iii. 7 is 
also echoed in it. But not only does it contain points of con- 
tact with this pair of Psalms of the time mentioned, but 
also with other Psalms belonging to same period, as xxvii. 
4, and more especially lxiii., which is said to have been 
composed when David had retreated with his faithful 
followers over Kidron and the Mount of Olives into the 
plains of the wilderness of Judah, whither Hushai sent him 
tidings, which counselled him to pass over Jordan with all 
possible haste. It is characteristic of all these Psalms, that 
in them David yearns after the house of God as after the 
peculiar home of his heart, and, that all his wishes centre in 
the one wish to be at home again. And does not this short, 
tender song, with its depth of feeling and its May-like fresh- 
ness, accord with David's want and wanderings to and fro 
at that time ? 

It consists of two hexastichs with short closing lines, 
resembling (as also in Isa. xvi. 9, 10) the Adonic verse of 
the strophe of Sappho, and a tetrastich made up of very short 
and longer lines intermixed. 

Vers. 1 — 3. The po et calls Jahve 'jn, as He who uniformly 
and graciously provides for and guides him and all who are 
His. Later prop Wy^nnoiinces the visible appearing nf this 
ShepheroV-Iga. xl. ll,Kzpk^xxxiy. 37,.and other passages. If 
this has taken place, the 'jn 'D from the mouth of man finds 
its cordial response in the words &fw eljii 6 itotjMjv 6 xaX6;. 
He who has Jahve, the possessor of all things, himself has_all 
things, h T lacks -nothing; viz. 3ltO"^^?Twh ateve r is good in 
itself _and would be good for him, xxxiv. 11, lxxxiv. 12. 
KWl niNrare~JH£naaturea ofiresb and tender grass, where 
one lies at ease, ^nd rest and enjoyment are combined. 
DN3 (ni3), according tojts primary meaning, is a resting- or 

Digitized by 


330 PSALM XXIII. 4-6. 

d wellin g-place, specifically an oasis, i. e. a verdant spot in 
the desert. nhlJD U) arejwalers, where the jweary_ finds_a 
most pleasant resting-place (according to Hitzig, it is a 
plural brought in by the plural of the governing word, but 
it is at any rate a superlative plural), and can at the same 
time refresh himself, bnj ig_suited J;o this as being a pas t- 
oral word used of gen tle leading, and more especially_ of 
guiding the herd s to ^^.w^ring.pln ^es, just a s Y*TVl is 
used of making them to rest, especially at noon-tide, Cant. 
i. 7; cf. 68T)Tf8iv, Apoc. vii. 17. tfSJ 3?1tf (elsewhere DMStt) 
-3 signifies to bri ng back the soul that is as it were flown away, 
so that it comes to itself again, therefore to impart new life, 
recreare. This He does to the soul, by causing it amidst 
the dryness and heat oTlemptation and~troubTe"7To~ taste 
the very essence of life which refreshes and strengthens- it. 
The Hiph. nrun (Arabic: to put on one side, as perhaps in 
Job xii. 23) is, as in cxliii. 10 the intensive of nru (lxxvii. 
21). The poet glories that Jahve leads him carefully and 
without risk or wandering in jTjGpij-lijip, str aight pat Ejjyid 
leading to the right goal, and this lOtf jj>D^ (for H is Name's 
sake). He has revealed Himself .as_.the_gracio.u8 One, and 
as such He will prove and glorify Himself even in the need 
of him who submits to His .guidance. 

Vers. 4 — 5.V Rgd_ and_staffargjie re not so m uch those 
of the pilgrinv which would be a confusing transition to a_ 
different figure, but those of Jahve, the_Shepherd (B2t&', &s. 
in Mic. vii. 14, and in connection with it, cf. Num. xxi. 18, 
I"DJ!TO as the filling up of the picture), as the mea ns of, 
guidance and defence. The one rod, which the shepherd 
Holds up to guide the flock and upon which he leans and 
anxiously watches over, the flock, has assumed a double form 
in the" conception of the ide a. This rod and staff in jhfib&ad 
or God comfort him, i.e^ preserve to him the feeling_of 
security ,~ and therefore a cheerful spirit. Even when he 
passes "through a valley dark and ^loomy_jis the shadow 
of death, where surprises and calamities of every kind 
threaten "hinr;"1ie fears no misfortune. The LXX. narrows 
the figure, rendering was according to the Aramaic v®}, 
Dan. iii. 25, h piay. The noun niO'W, which occurs in this 
passage for the first time in the Old Testament literature, 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXIII. 6. 331 

is originally not a compound word; but being formed from a 
verb D^S, aJJo (root bit, JJ&), to overshadow, darken, after 
the form nvag, but pronounced niO^S (cf. P?D*]Sr», Hadra- 
mot — the court of death, ^sa in-God's-shadow), it sig- 
nifies the shadow of death as an epithet of the most fearful 
darkness, as of Hades, Job x. 21 sq., but also of a shaft of 
a mine, Job xxviii. 3, and more especially of darkness such 
as makes itself felt in a wild, uninhabited desert, Jer. ii. 6. 
■* After the figure of the «hflj>hqrd fadnn away in sat. *, 
that of the [host appeara^__JEia^enemie»-inuHt look quietly" 
on ("130 as in xxxi. 20), without hfiing abla to do anything, 
and see bow Jahve provides bountifully for His guest, an- 
olntFhlm with" sweet perfumes as at- ajoyon s an d magnificent 
banqufit_(xcii. 11), and fills bis fil'p ** excess Whatjs 
meant jhe reby, is n ftt n^ < *^ Haar ' 1 y nTl1 y blessings- of * spirit- 
ual kind . The king fleeing before A ba o lom aad fore a kon by 
the mass of his people was» with hi* army, eves o u tw a rdly 
in danger of being destroyed by want; it is, t h ere f ore, even 
an abundance of_daily jjr jwfl atreaming 4 a «p™ » ih * m } . &9- 
in 2 SamTxvu. 27—29, that is m? ant; but nvfin this, spiritu- 
ally regarded, asfa gift from heaven, and so that the satis- 
fying, refreshing and quickening isonly the outside phase 
of simultaneous inward experiences^ The future "•fijyi is 
followed, according to the customary return to the perfect 
ground-form, by FOB*!, which has, none the less, the sig- 
nification of a present. And in the closing assertion, KTD, 
my cup, is metonymically equivalent to the contents of my 
cup. This is njn, a fulness satiating even to excess. 

Yer. 6. Foes are now pursuing him, but prosperity and 
favour alone shall pursue him, and therefore drive his pre- 
sent pursuers out of the field, "-js,-' originally affirmative, 
here, restrictive belongs "only to the subject-notion in its 
signification nil nisi (xxxix. 6, 12, cxxxix. 11). The express- 
ion: iTremarkahle and without example elsewhere: as good 
spirits Jahve sends forth #Mto and *lon to over take'a 
enemies, and to protect him against them to their shame, 

* In the month of the New Testament saint, especially on the dies 
vhridium, it is thetable of the Lord's sapper, as ApollinarisaUo hints when 
he applies to it the epithet p^ftSavSv (3p(9o-jaav, horrendorum ontulam 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 


and that all his life long (accusative of continuance). We 
have now no need, in connection with our reference of the 
Psalm to the persecution under Absolom, either to persuade 
ourselves that 'rot^l is equivalent to 'FDB'l xxvii. 4, or that 
it is equivalent to 'FO^l. The infinitive is logically inad- 
missible here, and unheard of with the vowel a instead of »", 
which would here (cf. on the other hand "»nnj5) be confus- 
ing and arbitrary. Nor can it be shewn from Jer. xlii. 10 
to be probable that it is contracted from TDt^l, since in 
that passage 31# signifies redeundo = rursus. The LXX., 
certainly, renders it by xa8foavce?, as in 1 Sam. xii. 2 by 
xol xaOtjooiiai; but (since so much uncertainty attaches to 
these translators and their text) we cannot draw a safe in- 
ference as to the existing usage of the language, which 
would, in connection with such a contraction, go out of the 
province of one verb into that of another, which is not the 
case with PIPP — DFiru in 2 Sam. xxii. 41 . On the contrary 
we have before us in the present passage a construct™ 
preegnans : "and I shall return (perf. consec.) in the house of 
Jahve", i. e. again, having returned, dwell in the house of 
Jahve. In itself 3 'FI3#1 might also even mean f.t revertam 
ad (cf. vii. 17, Hos. xii. 7), like 3 i"6j?, xxiv. 3, adscendere 
ad (in). But the additional assertion of continuance, rpfc 1 ? 
O>0> (as in xciii. 5, Lam. v. 20, Tpfo, root "p, extension, 
lengthening — length) favours the explanation, that a is to 
be connected with the idea of TCBty, which is involved in 
VQVh as a natural consequence. 



A. Psalm on going up (below, on the hill of Zion). 

Chorus of the festive procession. 

1 JAHVE's is the earth, and its fulness, 
The world, and they that dwell therein. 

2 For He, He hath founded it upon the seas, 
And upon streams did He set it fast. 

Digitized by 



A voice. 

8 Who may ascend the hill of Jahve, 
Who may stand in His holy place ? 

Another voice. 

4 He that is of innocent hands and of pare heart, 
He that doth not lift up his soul to vanity, 
And doth not swear deceitfully — 


5 He shall receive a blessing from Jahve, 

And righteousness from the God of his salvation. 
G This is the generation of those who aspire after Him, 
Who seek Thy face — Jacob. (Sela) 

B. Psalm on entering (above, on the citadel of Zion). 
Chorus of the festive procession. 

7 Lift up, ye gates, your heads, 

And raise yourselves, ye ancient doors, 
That the King of Glory may come in. 

A voice, as it were, from the gates. 

8 Who is, then, the King of Glory? 


Jahve, a mighty one and a hero, 
Jahve, a hero in battle. 

9 Lift up, ye gates, your heads, 

And raise yourselves, ye ancient doors, 
That the King of Glory may come in. 

As it mere, from the gates. 
10 Who is He, then, the King of Glory? 

Jahve of Hosts, 
He is the King of Glory. (Sela) 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 


334 PSALM xxrv. 

Ps. zxiii. expressed a longing after the bouse of Jahve 
on Zion; Ps. xxiv. celebrates Jahve's entrance into Zion, 
and the true character of him who may enter with Him. It 
was composed when the Ark was brought from Kirjath 
Jearim to Mount Zion, where David had caused it to be 
sot up in a tabernable built expressly for it, 2 Sam. vi. 
17, cf. xi. 11, 1 Kings i. 39; or else, which is rendered the 
more probable by the description of Jahve as a warrior, 
at a time when the Ark was brought back to Mount Zion, 
after having been taken to accompany the army to battle 
(vid. Ps. lxviii.). Ps. xv. is very similar. But only xxiv. 
1 — 6 is the counterpart of that Psalm; and there is nothing 
wanting to render the first part of Ps. xxiv. complete 
in itself. Hence Ewald divides Ps. xxiv. into two songs, 
belonging to different periods, although both old Davidic 
songs, viz. Ps. xxiv. 7 — 10, the song of victory sung at the 
removal of the Ark to Zion; and xxiv. 1 — 6, a purely di- 
dactic song pre-supposing this event which forms an era in 
their history. And it is relatively more natural to regard 
this Psalm rather than Ps. xix., as two songs combined and 
made into one; but these two songs have an internal coher- 
ence ; in Jahve's coming to His temple is found that which 
occasioned them and that towards which They point; and 
consequently they form a whole consisting of two divisions. 
To the inscription lioto Trb the LXX. adds ttj« ju5« ooppi- 
too* (— fOEd irw btf, for the first day of the week), accord- 
ing to which this Psalm was a customary Sunday Psalm. 
This addition is confirmed by B. Tatnid extr., Bosh ha- 
Shana 31a, Sofrim xviii. (cf. supra p. 32). In the second of 
these passages cited from the Talmud, B. Akiba seeks to 
determine the reasons for this choice by reference to the 
history of the creation. 

Incorporated in Israel's hymn-book, this Psalm became, 
with a regard to its original occasion and purpose, an Old 
Testament Advent hymn in honour of the Lord who should 
come into His temple, Mai. iii. 1; and the cry: Lift up, ye 

* The London Papyrus fragments, in Teschendorf Monum. i. 247, 
read TH MIA TQN 2ABBATQN Id the Hexaplarian text, this addi- 
tion to the inscription was wanting. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXIV. 1-6. 335 

gates, your heads, obtained a meaning essentially the same 
as that of the voice of the crier in Isaiah xl. 3 : Prepare ye 
Jahve's way, make smooth in the desert a road for our God t 
In the New Testament consciousness, the second appearing 
takes the place of the first, the coming of the Lord of Glory 
to His church, which is His spiritual temple ; and in this 
Psalm we are called upon to prepare Him a worthy recep- 
tion. The interpretation of the second half of the Psalm 
of the entry of the Conqueror of death into Hades, — an 
interpretation which has been started by the Gospel of 
Nicodemus (vid. Tischendorfs Evv. apocrypha p. 306 sq.) 
and still current in the Greek church, — and the patristic 
interpretation of it of the el? oupavoo? &v£Xi)<J«ic too xupiou, 
do as much violence to the rules of exegesis as to the 
parallelism of the facts of the Old and New Testaments. 

Vers. 1 — 6. Jahve, whose throne of grace is now set 
upon Zion, has not a limited dominion, like the heathen 
deities : His right to sovereignty embraces the earth and 
its fulness (1. 12, lxxxix. 12), i. e. everything that is to be 
found upon it and in it.* For He, Kin, is the owner of the 
world, because its Creator. He has founded it upon seas, 
i. e. the ocean and its streams, nnnj, p£e8p<x (Jon. ii. 4) ; for 
the waters existed before the dry land, and this has been 
cast up out of them at God's word, so that consequently the 
solid land, — which indeed also conceals in its interior a Qinn 
TlfT (Gen. vii. 11), — rising above the surface of the sea, 
has the waters, as it were, for its foundation (cxxxvi. 6), 
although it would more readily sink down into them than 
keep itself above them, if it were not in itself upheld by the 
creative power of God. Hereupon arises the question, who 

* In I Cor. x. 26, Paul founds on this verse (cf. 1. 12) the doctrine 
that a Christian (apart from a charitable regard for the weak) may 
eat whatever is sold in the shambles, without troubling himself to 
enquire whether it has been offered to idols or not. A Talmudic 
teacher, B. Berachoth 35a, infers from this passage the duty of prayer 
before meat : He who eats without giving thanks is like one who lays 
hands opon COT? 'CTp (the sacred things of God); the right to eat 
is only obtained by prayer. 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 

336 PSALM XXIV. 1-6. 

may ascend the mountain of Jahve, and stand above in His 
holy place? The futures have a potential signification: who 
can have courage to do it? what, therefore, must he be, 
whom Jahve receives into His fellowship, and with whose 
worship He is well-pleased ? Answer : he must be one inno- 
cent in his actions and pure in mind, one who does not lift 
up his soul to that which is vain (Kwb, according to the 
Masora with Warn minus culum). (b) ?K B'BJ NtM, to direct 
one's soul, xxv. 1, or longing and striving, towards any- 
thing, Deut. xziv. 15, Prov. xix. 18, Hos. iv. 8. The Keri 
n&fcJ is old and acknowledged by the oldest authorities.* 
Even the LXX. Cod. Alex, translates : rijv ^oxV r 100 » where- 
as Cod. Vat. (Eus., Apollin., Theodor., et al.): ttjv 4< u xV *^°». 
Critically it is just as intangible, as it is exegetically incom- 
prehensible; i&si might then be equivalent to iptt', Exod. 
xx. 7, an explanation, however, which does not seem possible 
even from Amos vi. 8, Jer. li. 14. We let this Keri alone 
to its undisturbed critical rights. But that the poet did 
actual write thus, is incredible. 

In ver. 5 (just as at the close of Ps. xv.), in continued 
predicates, we are told the character of the man, who is 
worthy of this privilege, to whom the question in ver. 3 
refers. Such an one shall bear away, or acquire (N20 , as 
e.g. Esth. ii. 17) blessing from Jahve and righteousness from 

* The reading VZ'Q} is adopted by Saadia (in EmunoQi ii, where 
"tfDi is equivalent to 'Otf), Juda ha-Levi (Cuzari iii. 27), Abulwalid 
(Rikma p. 180), Rashi, Kimchi, the Sohar, the Codices (and among others 
by that of the year 1294) and most editions (among which, the Com- 
plutensis has 1 '57SJ in the text). Nor does Aben-Ezra, whom Norxi has/ 
misunderstood, by any means reverse the relation of the ChetMb and 
Keri; to him 'tfoJ is the Keri, and he explains it as a metaphor (an 
anthropomorphism): ,% d3 "p" 1 ,B,SJ 311*13). Eli as Levita is the only 
one who rejects the Keri "tfeM ; but he does so through misunderstand- 
ing a Masora (vid. Baer's Psatlcrium p. 130) and not without admitting 
Masoretic testimony in favour of it (miDDJI niNnDO 3D3 TWO pi). 
He is the only textual critic who rejects it. For Jacob b. Chajim is 
merely astonished that 1^31 is not to be found in the Masoreth register 
of words written with Wan and to be read with Jod. And even Norzt 
does not reject this Keri, which be is obliged to admit has greatly 
preponderating testimony in its favour, and he would only too gladly 
get rid of it. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXIV. 5—10. 337 

the God of his salvation (xxv. 5, xxvii. 9). Righteousness, 
t. e. conformity to God and that which is well-pleasing to 
God, appears here as a gift, and in this sense it is used 
interchangeably with yvfi (e. g. cxxxii. 9, 16). It is the 
righteousness of God after which the righteous, but not the 
self-righteous, man hungers and thirsts; that moral perfec- 
tion which is the likeness of God restored to him and at 
the same time brought about by bis own endeavours; it is 
the being changed, or transfigured, into the image of the 
Holy One Himself. With ver. 5 the answer to the question 
of ver. 3 is at an end; ver. 6 adds that those thus quali- 
fied, who may accordingly expect to receive God's gifts of 
salvation, are the true church of Jahve, the Israel of God. 
ypi (lit. a revolution, Arabic dahr, root "n, to turn, revolve) 
is used here, as in xiv. 5, lxxiii. 15, cxii. 2, of a collective 
whole, whose bond of union is not cotemporaneousness, but 
similarity of disposition; and it is an alliteration with the 
VBhM (Chethib yarn, without the Jodplur.) which follows. 
s]i;s 'K'pDD is a second genitive depending on in, as in 
xxvii. 8. Here at the close the predication passes into the 
form of invocation (Thy face). And 3j?5£ is a summarising 
predicate: in short, these are Jacob, not merely after the 
flesh, but after the spirit, and thus in truth (Isa. xliv. 2, 
cf. Rom. ix. 6, Gal. vi. 16). By interpolating v6n, as is 
done in the LXX. and Peshito, and adopted by Ewald, Ols- 
hausen, Hupfeld, and Bottcher, the nerve, as it were, of the 
assertion is cut through. The predicate, which has been 
expressed in different ways, is concentrated intelligibly 
enough in the one word spp, towards which it all along 
tends. And here the music becomes forte. The first part 
of this double Psalm dies away amidst the playing of the 
instruments of the Levitical priests; for the Ark was brought 
in D*")H£M 1JT^33, as 2 Sam. vi. 5 (cf. 14) is to be read. 

Vers. 7 — 10. The festal procession has now arrived 
above at the gates of the citadel of Zion. These are called 
chip TIDD, doors of eternity (not "of the world" as Luther 
renders it contrary to the Old Testament usage of the lan- 
guage) either as doors which pious faith hopes will last for 
ever, as Hupfeld and Hitzig explain it, understanding them, 
in opposition to the inscription of the Psalm, to be the 
vol. i. 22 

Digitized by 


338 PSALM XXIV. 7—10. 

gates of Solomon's Temple; or, what seems to us much 
more appropriate in the mouth of those who are now stand- 
ing before the gates, as the portals dating hack into the 
hoary ages of the past (c^lJJ as e. g. in Gen. xlix. 26, Isa. 
lviii. 12), the time of the Jebusites, and even of Melchizedek, 
through which the King of Glory, whose whole being and 
acts is glory, is now about to enter. It is the gates of the 
citadel of Zion, to which the cry is addressed, to expand 
themselves in a manner worthy of the Lord who is about 
to enter, for whom they are too low and too strait. Rejoi- 
cing at the great honour, thus conferred upon them, they are 
to raise their heads (Job x. 15, Zech. ii. 4), t. e. lift up 
their portals (lintels); the doors of antiquity are to open 
high and wide.* Then the question echoes back to the 
festal procession from Zion's gates which are wont only to 
admit mighty lords: who, then (ni giving vividness to the 
question, Ges. § 122, 2), is this King of Glory; and they 
describe Him more minutely: it is the Hero-god, by whom 
Israel has wrested this Zion from the Jebusites with the 
sword, and by whom he has always been victorious in time 
past. The adjectival climactic form niy (like Tie}, with i 
instead of the a in jiTI, 1W0 is only found in one other 
passage, viz. Isa. xliii. 17. !"lor6o 1133 refers back to Exod. 
xv. 3. Thus then shall the gates raise their heads and the 
ancient doors lift themselves, i. e. open high and wide ; and 
this is expressed here by Kal instead of Niph. (nbo to lift 
one's self up, rise, as in Nah. i. 5, Hos. xiii. 1, Hab. i. 3), 
according to the well-known order in which recurring verses 
and refrain-like repetitions move gently onwards. The gates 
of Zion ask once more, yet now no longer hesitatingly, but 
in order to hear more in praise of the great King. It is 
now the enquiry seeking fuller information ; and the heap- 
ing up of the pronouns (as in Jer. xxx. 21, cf. xlvi. 7, Esth. 
vii. 5) expresses its urgency (quis tandem, ecquisnam). The 
answer runs, "Jahve Tsebaoth, He is the King of Glory (now 
making His entry)". rtfJQX 71 is the proper name of Jahve 
as King, which had become His customary name in the time 

* On the Munach instead of Mct'ieg in !N~3rj1 vid. Baer'a Accent 
system vii. 2. 

Digitized by 



of the kings of Israel. ffitax is a genitive governed by '!"i; 
and, while it is otherwise found only in reference to human 
hosts, in this combination it gains, of itself, the reference 
to the angels and the stars, which are called vfcCJt in ciii. 
21, cxlviii. 2: Jahve's hosts consisting of celestial heroes, 
Joel ii. 11, and of stars standing on the plain of the heavens 
as it were in battle array, Isa. xl. 26, — a reference for 
which experiences and utterances like those recorded in Gen. 
xxxii. 2 sq., Deut. xxxiii. 2, Judges v. 20, have prepared 
the way. It is, therefore, the Ruler commanding innumer- 
able and invincible super-terrestrial powers, who desires 
admission. The gates are silent and open wide; and Jahve, 
sitting enthroned above the Cherubim of the sacred Ark, 
enters into Zion. 



1 n UNTO Thee, Jahve, do I lift up my soul. 

2 2 My God in Thee do I trust, let me not be ashamed, 

Let not mine enemies triumph over me. 

3 3 Yea none that wait on Thee shall be ashamed, 

They shall be ashamed who are faithless without cause. 

4 -i Thy ways, Jahve, make known to me, 

Thy paths teach Thou me. 

5 n Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me; 

For Thou art the God of my salvation, 
On Thee do I hope continually. 

6 J Remember, Jahve, Thy tender mercies and Thy loving- 

For they are ever of old. 

7 p, The sins of my youth and my transgressions re- 

member not, 
According to Thy mercy remember Thou me 
For Thy goodness' sake, Jahve 1 

8 D Good and upright is Jahve; 

Therefore He instructeth sinners in the right way. 
!) i He leadeth the humble in that which is right, 
And teacheth the humble His way. 


Digitized by 



10 D All the paths of Jahve are mercy and truth, 

To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. 

11 b For Thy name's sake, Jahve, pardon my sin, 

For it is great. 

12 e What man is he that feareth Jahve? 

Him shall He teach in the way of right choice. 

13 i His soul shall dwell in prosperity, 

And his seed shall inherit the land. 

14 D The secret of Jahve is with them that fear Him, 

And His covenant doth He make them know. 

15 y Mine eyes are ever towards Jahve, 

For He will pluck my feet out of the net. 

16 S Turn Thee unto me and be gracious unto me, 

For I am desolate and 'needy. 
17s Troubles have spread over my heart, 

Out of my distresses bring Thou me forth 1 

18 i Look upon mine affliction and my trouble, 

And forgive all my sins. 

19 "i Look upon mine enemies, that they are many, 

And with cruel hatred they hate me. 

20 uf Keep my soul, and deliver me, 

Let me not be ashamed, for I trust in Thee. 

21 n Let integrity and uprightness preserve mo, 

For I hope in Thee. 

22 s Redeem Israel, Elohim, 

Out of all his troubles. 

A question similar to the question, Who may ascend the 
mountain of Jahve? which Ps. xxiv. propounded, is thrown 
out by Ps. xxv., Who is he that feareth Jahve? in order to 
answer it in great and glorious promises. It is a calmly 
confident prayer for help against one's foes, and for God's 
instructing, pardoning, and leading grace. It is without 
any definite background indicating the history of the times 
in which it was composed; and also without any clearly 
marked traits of individuality. But it is one of the nine 
alphabetical Psalms of the whole collection, and the com- 
panion to Ps. xxxiv., to which it corresponds even in many 
peculiarities of the acrostic structure. For both Psalms 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXV. 1-2. 341 

have no l strophe; they are parallel both as to sound and 
meaning in the beginnings of the d, y, and the first D 
strophes; and both Psalms, after having gone through the 
alphabet, have a s strophe added as the concluding one, 
whose beginning and contents are closely related. This 
homogeneousness points to one common author. We see 
nothing in the alphabetical arrangement at least, which 
even here as in Ps. ix — x. is handled very freely and not 
fully carried out, to hinder us from regarding David as 
this author. But, in connection with the general ethical 
and religious character of the Psalm, it is wanting in posi- 
tive proofs of this. In its universal character and harmony 
with the plan of redemption Ps. xxv. coincides with many 
post-exilic Psalms. It contains nothing but what is com- 
mon to the believing consciousness of the church in every 
age; nothing specifically belonging to the Old Testament 
and Israelitish, hence Theodoret says: 4pji6Cet |uxXtora tot; i£ 
4&vd>v xexXn) pivot*;. The introits for the second and third 
Quadragesima Sundays are taken from vers. 6 and 15 ; hence 
these Sundays are called Reminiscere and Oculi. Paul Ger- 
hardt's hymn u Nach dir, o fferr, verlanget mich* is a beauti- 
ful poetical rendering of this Psalm. 

Vers. 1 — 2. The Psalm begins, like Ps. xvi. xxiii., 
with a monostich. Yer. 2 is the 3 strophe, Tl^N (unless 
one is disposed to read t6n *p according to the position of 
the words in xxxi. 2), after the manner of the interjections 
in the tragedians, e. g. Spot, not being reckoned as 
belonging to the verse (J. D. Kohler). In need of help and 
full of longing for deliverance he raises his soul, drawn 
away from earthly desires, to Jahve (lxxxvi. 4, cxliii. 8), 
the God who alone can grant him that which shall truly 
satisfy his need. His ego, which has the soul within itself, 
directs his soul upwards to Him whom he calls TY^N, because 
in believing confidence he clings to Him and is united with 
Him. The two bi< declare what Jahve is not to allow him 
to experience, just as in xxxi. 2, 18. According to xxxv. 
19, 24, xxxviii. 17, it is safer to construe "h with is^jp (cf. 
lxxi. 10), as also in xxvii. % xxx. 2, Mic. vii. 8, although it 

Digitized by 


342 PSALM XXV. 3—5. 

would be possible to construe it with oyiN (cf. cxliv. 2). In 
ver. 3 the confident expectation of the individual is gene- 

Ver. 3. That wherewith the praying one comforts 
himself is no peculiar personal prerogative, but the certain, 
joyous prospect of all believers: j) £Am? ou xaxaio^tSvei, Rom. 
v. 5. These are called splp (nip participle to nip, just as 
"DT is the participle to "QT). Hope is the eye of faith 
which looks forth clear and fixedly into the future. With 
those wbo hope in Jahve, who do not allow themselves to 
be in any way disconcerted respecting Him, are contrasted 
those who act treacherously towards Him (cxix. 158, Aq., 
Symm., Theodot., ol Airoo-aToovre?), and that Dp^., »'■ e. — 
and it can only mean this — from vain and worthless 
pretexts, and therefore from wanton unconscientiousness. 

Ver. 4. Recognising the infamy of such black ingratitude, 
he prays for instruction as to the ways which he must take 
according to the precepts of God (xviii. 22). The will of 
God, it is true, lies before us in God's written word, but 
the expounder required for the right understanding of that 
word is God Himself. He prays Him for knowledge; but 
in order to make what he knows a perfect and living real- 
ity, he still further needs the grace of God, viz. both His 
enlightening and also His guiding grace. 

Ver. 5. His truth is the lasting and self-verifying fact 
of His revelation of grace. To penetrate into this truth 
and to walk in it (xxvi. 3, lxxxvi. 11) without God, is a 
contradiction in its very self. Therefore the psalmist prays, 
as in cxix. 35, iZr^aiv pe 4v tjj dXTjGsla ooo (LXX. Cod. 
Alex.; whereas Cod. Vat. sitl tJjv . . . , cf. John xvi. 13). He 
prays thus, for his salvation comes from Jahve, yea Jahve 
is his salvation. He does not hope for this or that, but for 
Him, all the day, i. e. unceasingly,* for everything worth 
hoping for, everything that can satisfy the longing of the 
soul, is shut up in Him. All mercy or grace, however, 

* Hupfeld thinks the accentuation inappropriate ; the first half of 
the verse, however, really extends to ^J, and consists of two parts, 
of which the second is the confirmation of the first: the second half 
contains a relatively new thought. The sequence of the accents: Rebia 
magnum, Athnach, therefore fully accords with the matter. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXV. 6—9. 343 

which proceeds from Him, haa its foundation in His com- 
passion and condescension. 

Ver. 6. The supplicatory reminiscere means, may God 
never forget to exercise His pity and grace towards him, 
which are (as the plurals imply) so rich and superabundant. 
The ground on which the prayer is based is introduced 
with '3 (nam, or even quoniam). God's compassion and 
grace are as old in their operation and efficacy as man's 
feebleness and sin; in their counsels they are eternal, and 
therefore have also in themselves the pledge of eternal 
duration (c. 5, ciii. 17). 

Ver. 7. May Jahve not remember the faults of his youth 
(ivKtsn), into which lust and thoughtlessness have preci- 
pitated him, nor the transgressions (Qiyv/Q), by which even 
in maturer and more thoughtful years he has turned the 
grace of God into licentiousness and broken off his fellow- 
ship with Him (2 y&B, of defection); but may He, on the 
contrary, turn His remembrance to him (b *13? as in cxxxvi. 
23) in accordance with His grace or loving-kindness, which 
MFN challenges as being the form of self-attestation most 
closely corresponding to the nature of God. Memor esto 
quidem met, observes Augustine, non secundum iram, qua ego 
digitus sum, sed secundum misericordiam tuam, quae te digna 
est. For God is 31B, which is really equivalent to saying, 
He is &y<hct). The next distich shews that 31D is intended 
here of God's goodness, and not, as e. g. in Neh. ix. 35, of 
His abundance of possessions. 

Ver. 8. The 3 with rnin denotes the way, t. e. the 
right way (Job xxxi. 7), as the sphere and subject of the 
instruction, as in xxxii. 8, Prov. iv. 11, Job xxvii. 11. God 
condescends to sinners in order to teach them the way that 
leads to life, for He is iBfiraito; well-doing is His delight, 
and, if His anger be not provoked (xviii. 276), He has only 
the sincerest good intention in what He does. 

Ver. 9. The shortened form of the future stands here, 
according to Ges. § 128, 2, rem., instead of the full form 
(which, viz. 'SpT', is perhaps meant) ; for the connection which 
treats of general facts, does not admit of its being taken as 
optative. The 3 (cf. ver. 5, cvii. 7, cxix. 35) denotes the 
sphere of the guidance. ISSBTD is the right so far as it is 

Digitized by 


344 PSALM XXV. 10—12. 

traversed, i. e. practised or carried out. In this course of 
right He leads the DiJjf, and teaches them the way that is 
pleasing to Himself. O'ijy. is the one word for the gentle, 
mansueti, and the humhle, modesti. Jerome uses these words 
alternately in ver. 9a and 9b; but the poet designedly repeats 
the one word — the cardinal virtue of Di J}? — here with the 
preponderating notion of lowliness. Upon the self-righteous 
and self-sufficient He would he obliged to force Himself 
even against their will. He wants disciples eager to learn; 
and how richly He rewards those who guard what they have 

Yer. 10. The paths intended, are those which He takes 
with men in accordance with His revealed will and counsel. 
These paths are -pn [loving-kindness, mercy, or grace], for 
the salvation of men is their goal, and noN [truth], for they 
give proof at every step of the certainty of His promises. 
But only they who keep His covenant and His testimonies 
faithfully and obediently shall share in this mercy and truth. 
To the psalmist the name of Jahve, which unfolds itself in 
mercy and truth, is precious. Upon it he bases the prayer 
that follows. 

Ver. 11. The perf. consec. is attached to the VV, which 
is, according to the sense, implied in tjdb' ]Vvb, just as in 
other instances it follows adverbial members of a clause, 
placed first for the sake of emphasis, when those members 
have reference to the future, Ges. § 126, rem. 1. Separate 
and manifold sins (ver. 7) are all comprehended in }1£, 
which is in other instances also the collective word for the 
corruption and the guilt of sin. '2 gives the ground of the 
need and urgency of the petition. A great and multiform 
load of sin lies upon him, but the name of God, i. e. His 
nature that has become manifest in His mercy and truth, 
permits him to ask and to hope for forgiveness, not for the 
sake of anything whatever that he has done, but just for the 
sake of this name (Jer. xiv. 7, Isa. xliii. 25). How happy 
therefore is he who fears God, in this matter! 

Yer. 12. The question: quisnam est vir, which resembles 
xxxiv. 13, cvii. 43, Isa. 1. 10, is only propounded in order 
to draw attention to the person who bears the character 
described, and then to state what such an one has to expect. 

Digitized by 


PSALM. XXV. 13—14. 345 

In prose we should have a relative antecedent clause instead, 
viz. qui (quisquis) talis est qui Dominum vereatur.* The 
attributive "inZP, (viam) quam eligat (cf. Isa. zlviii. 17), might 
also be referred to God : in which He takes delight (LXX.) ; 
but parallels like cxix. 30, 173, favour the rendering: which 
he should chose. Among all the blessings which fall to the 
lot of him who fears God, the first place is given to this, 
that God raises him above the vacillation and hesitancy of 
human opinion. 

Ver. 13. The verb yb (yb), probably equivalent to h*? 
(from W) signifies to tarry the night, to lodge. Good, i. e. 
inward and outward prosperity, is like the place where 
such an one turns in and finds shelter and protection. And 
in his posterity will be fulfilled what was promised to the 
patriarchs and to the people delivered from Egypt, viz. 
possession of the land, or as this promise runs in the New 
Testament, of the earth, Mat. v. 5 (cf. Ps. xxxvii. 11), Apoc. 
v. 10. 

Ver. 14. The LXX. renders HD, xpaxaimpa, as though 
it were equivalent to "HDV The reciprocal ipU, ii. 2 (which 
see), leads one to the right primary signification. Starting 
from the primary meaning of the root ID," to be or to make 
tight, firm, compressed", "I1D signifies a being closely pressed 
together for the purpose of secret communication and con- 
verse, confidential communion or being together, lxxxix. 8, 
cxi. 1 (Symm. ojuXta), then the confidential communication 
itself, lv. 15, a secret (Aquila 4it6j5|>TjTov, Theod. (waxTjptov). 
So here: He opens his mind without any reserve, speaks 
confidentially with those who fear Him; cf. the derivative 
passage Prov. iii. 32, and an example of the thing itself in 
Gen. xviii. 17. In ver. 14& the infinitive with b, according 
to Ges. § 132, rem. 1, as in Isa. xxxviii. 20, is an expression 
for the fut. periphrast.: foedus suum notum facturus est its; 
the position of the words is like Dan. ii. 16, 18, iv. 15. 
gnin is used of the imparting of not merely intellectual, but 
experimental knowledge. Hitzig renders it differently, viz. 

* The verb ver-eri, which signifies "to guard one's self, defend 
« lie's self from anything" according to its radical notion, has nothing 
to do with N"V (tnjj). 

Digitized by 


346 PSALM XXV. 15—18. 

to enlighten them. But the Hiph. is not intended to he 
used thus absolutely even in 2 Sam. vii. 21. inna is the 
object; it is intended of the rich and deep and glorious 
character of the covenant revelation. The poet has now 
on all sides confirmed the truth, that every good gift comes 
down from above, from the God of salvation; and he returns 
to the thought from which he started. 

Ver. 15. He who keeps his eyes constantly directed 
towards God (cxli. 8, cxxiii. 1), is continually in a praying 
mood, which cannot remain unanswered. TOF) corresponds 
to 48iaXstuxa>« in 1 Thess. v. 17. The aim of this constant 
looking upwards to God, in this instance, is deliverance out 
of the enemy's net. He can and will pull him out (xzxi. 
5) of the net of complicated circumstances into which he 
has been ensnared without any fault of his own. 

Ver. 16. The rendering "regard me", so far as b& DJ5 
means God's observant and sympathising turning to any one 
(LXX. sTupX^imv), corresponds to lxxxvi. 16, Lev. xxvi. 9. 
For this he longs, for men treat him as a stranger and 
refuse to have anything to do with him. TTP is the only 
one of his kind, one who has no companion, therefore the 
isolated one. The recurrence of the same sounds OK yj; is 
designedly not avoided. To whom could he, the isolated 
one, pour forth his affliction, to whom could he unveil his 
inmost thoughts and feelings? to God alone 1 To Him he 
can bring all his complaints, to Him he can also again and 
again always make supplication. 

Ver. 17. The Hiph. aTTf! signifies to make broad, and 
as a transitive denominative applied to the mind and heart : 
to make a broad space — to expand one's self (cf. as to 
the idea, Lam. ii. 13, "great as the sea is thy misfortune*), 
LXX. 4itXT)6uv6Tjoav, perhaps originally it was iitXox6v6Tjoav. 
Accordingly 12'rnn is admissible so far as language is con- 
cerned ; but since it gives only a poor antithesis to ffllX it 
is to be suspected. The original text undoubtedly was 
TVipweoi 3'PTin (31T£I, as in Ixxvii. 2, or STPjn, as e. g. in 
2 Kings viii. 6): the straits of my heart do Thou enlarge 
(cf. cxix. 32, 2 Cor. vi. 11) and bring me out of my distresses 
(Hitzig and others). 

Vers. 18 — 19. The falling away of the p is made up for 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXV. lS—%%. 847 

by a double "i strophe. Even the LXX. has tie twice over. 
The seeing that is prayed for, is in both instances a seeing 
into his condition, with which is conjoined the notion of 
interposing on his behalf, though the way and manner there- 
of is left to God. b NiSO , with the object in the dative instead 
of the accusative (toller e peccata), signifies to bestow a tak- 
ing away, t. e. forgiveness, upon any one (synon. b nSo). 
It is pleasing to the New Testament consciousness that God's 
vengeance is not expressly invoked upon his enemies. >3 is 
an expansive quod as in Gen. i. 4. Don ntOt? with an attri- 
butive genitive is hatred, which springs from injustice and 
ents in injustice. 

Ver. 20. He entreats for preservation and deliverance 
from God; and that He may not permit his hope to be dis- 
appointed (BtoNT^N, cf. 1 Chron. xxi. 13, instead of HtS'O&r^N, 
which is usual in other instances). This his hope rests in- 
deed in Him : he has taken refuge in Him and therefore He 
cannot forsake him, He cannot let him be destroyed. 

Ver. 21. Devoutness that fills the whole man, that is 
not merely half-hearted and hypocritical, is called Dh; and 
uprightness that follows the will of God without any by- 
paths and forbidden ways is called ~)\th. These two radical 
virtues (cf. Job i. 1) he desires to have as his guardians on 
his way which is perilous not only by reason of outward 
foes, but also on account of his own sinfulness. These 
custodians are not to let him pass out of their sight, lest 
he should be taken away from them (cf. xl. 12, Prov. xx. 
28). He can claim this for himself, for the cynosure of 
his hope is God, from whom proceed on and ~\Vh like good 

Ver. 22. His experience is not singular, but the enmity 
of the world and sin bring all who belong to the people of 
God into straits just as they have him. And the need of 
the individual will not cease until the need of the whole 
undergoes a radical remedy. Hence the intercessory prayer- 
of this meagre closing distich, whose connection with what 
precedes is not in this instance so close as in xxxiv. 23. It 
looks as though it was only added when Ps. xxv. came to 
be used in public worship; and the change of the name of 
God favours this view. Both Psalms close with a B in excess 

Digitized by 



of the alphabet. Perhaps the first D represents the w, and 
the second the 9; for xxv. 16, xxxiv. 17 follow words ending 
in a consonant, and xxv. 22, xxxiv. 23, words ending in a 
vowel. Or is it a propensity for giving a special representa- 
tion of the final letters, just as these are sometimes repre- 
sented, though not always perfectly, at the close of the 
hymns of the synagogue (pijutim)! 



1 VINDICATE my cause, Jahve, for I have walked in 

mine integrity, 
And in Jahve have I trusted without wavering. 

2 Prove me, Jahve, and try me, 
Purify my reins and my heart. 

3 For Thy loving-kindness is before mine eyes, 
And I walk in Thy truth. 

4 I have not sat with vain persons, 

And with dissemblers I have no intercourse. 

5 I hate the congregation of the wicked, 
And I sit not with the ungodly. 

6 I will wash my hands in innocency, 

And I desire to compass Thine altar, Jahve ; 

7 That I may join in with the voice of thanksgiving, 
And tell of all Thy wondrous works. 

« Jahve, I love the habitation of Thy house, 
And the place where Thy glory dwelletb, 

9 Gather not my soul with sinners, 
Nor my life with men of blood, 

10 In whose hands is infamy, 

And whose right hand is full of bribory! 

11 I, however, do walk in mine integrity - 
Deliver me and be gracious unto me ! 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXVI. 1—3. 349 

12 My foot is come to stand in a wide plain, 

In the choirs of the congregation will I praise Jahve. 

Fs. xxv. and xxvi. are bound together by similarity of 
thought and expression. In the former as in this Psalm, 
we find the writer's testimony to his trust in God ('ITIDS, 
xxv. 2, xxvi. 1); there as here, the cry coming forth from 
a distressed condition for deliverance (niD, xxv. 22, xxvi. 
11), and for some manifestation of mercy (OJn xxvi. 11, 
xxv. 16) ; and in the midst of these, other prominent points 
of contact (xxvi. 11, xxv. 21 ; xxvi. 3., xxv. 5). These are 
grounds sufficient for placing these two Psalms close 
together. But in Ps. xxvi. there is wanting the self-accusa- 
tion that goes hand in hand with the self-attestation of 
piety, that confession of sin which so closely corresponds 
to the New Testament consciousness (vid. supra p. 72), 
which is thrice repeated in Ps. xxv. The harshness of the 
contrast in which the psalmist stands to his enemies, whose 
character is here more minutely described, does not admit 
of the introduction of such a lament concerning himself. 
The description applies well to the Absolomites. They are 
hypocrites, who, now that they have agreed together in their 
faithless and bloodly counsel, have thrown off their dis- 
guise and are won over by bribery to their new master; for 
Absolom had stolen the hearts of the men of Israel, 2 Sam. 
xv. 6. David at that time would not take the Ark with him 
in his flight, but said : If I shall find favour in the eyes of 
Jahve, He will bring me back, and grant me to see both it 
and His habitation, 2 Sam. xv. 25. The love for the house 
of God, which is expressed herein, is also the very heart 
of this Psalm. 

Vers. 1 — 3. The poet, as one who is persecuted, prays 
for the vindication of his rights and for rescue; and bases 
this petition upon the relation in which he stands to God. 
, JB5B', as in vii. 9, xxxv. 24, cf. xliii. 1. oh (synon. D'DFI, 
which, however, does not take any suffix) is, according to 
Gen. xx. 5 sq., 1 Kings xxii. 34, perfect freedom from all 
sinful intent, purity of character, pureness, guilelessness 
(dxaxtoc, drc),6"C7ji). Upon the fact, that he has walked in a 

Digitized by 


350 PSALM XXVI. 3—5. 

harmless mind, without cherishing or provoking enmity, 
and trusted unwaveringly (njJCK t6, an adverbial circum- 
stantial clause, cf. xxi. 8) in Jahve, he bases the petition 
for the proving of his injured right. He does not self- 
righteously hold himself to be morally perfect, he appeals 
only to the fundamental tendency of his inmost nature, which 
is turned towards God and to Him only. Yer. 2 also is 
not so much a challenge for God to satisfy Himself of his 
innocence, as rather a request to prove the state of his 
mind, and, if it be not as it appears to his consciousness, 
to make this clear to him (cxxxix. 23 sq). jna is not used in 
this passage of proving by trouble, but by a penetrating 
glance into the inmost nature (xi. 5, xvii. 3). npj, not in 
the sense of iteipiCeiv, but of SoxtfiaCeiv. pj-js, to melt down, 
i. e. by the agency of fire, the precious metal, and separate 
the dross (xii. 7, lxvi. 10). The Chethib is not to be read 
DBflS (which would be in contradiction to the request), but 
nB1")S, as it is out of pause also in Isa. xxxii. 11, cf. Judges 
ix. 8, 12, 1 Sam. xxviii. 8. The reins are the seat of the 
emotions, the heart is the very centre of the life of the mind 
and soul. 

Yer. 3 tells how confidently and cheerfully he would 
set himself in the light of God. God's grace or loving- 
kindness is the mark on which his eye is fixed, the desire 
of his eye, and he walks in God's truth, "ipn is the divine 
love, condescending to His creatures, and more especially to 
sinners (xxv.. 7), in unmerited kindness; niDN is the truth 
with which God adheres to and carries out the determi- 
nation of His love and the word of His promise. This lov- 
ingkindness of God has been always hitherto the model 
of his life, this truth of God the determining line and the 
boundary of his walk. 

Vers. 4 — 5. He still further bases his petition upon his 
comportment towards the men of this world; how he has 
always observed a certain line of conduct and continues still 
to keep to it. With ver. ia compare Jer. xv. 17. t<W 'flD 
(Job xi. 11, cf. xxxi. 5, where the parallel word is no*c) 
are "not-real,"" unreal men, but in a deeper stronger sense 
than we are accustomed to use this word, nib* (= NlB\ from 
Kit?) is aridity, hollo wness, worthlessness, and therefore 

Digitized by 


PSALM. XXVI. 6—7. 351 

badness («-*) of disposition; the chaotic Toid of alienation 

from God; untruth white-washed over with the lie of dissi- 
mulation (xii. 3), and therefore nothingness : it is the very 
opposite of being filled with the fulness of God and with 
that which is good, which is the morally real (its synonym 
is jw, e. g. Job xxii. 15). D'lpbyi , the veiled, are those who 
know how to keep their worthlessness and their mischie- 
vous designs secret and to mask them by hypocrisy; post- 
biblical Q^JJOS, dyed (cf. 4voit6xptto?, Luther "ungefarbt 1 ', 
undyed). (ON) DJ? n13, to go in with any one, is a short 
expression for: to go in and out with, i. e. to have inter- 
course with him, as in Prov. xxii. 24, cf. Gen. xxiii. 10. 
jna (from jjjn) is the name for one who plots that which is 
evil and puts it into execution. On ytS'-j see i. 1. 

Vers. 6 — 8. The poet supports his petition by declar- 
ing his motive to be his love for the sanctuary of God, 
from which he is now far removed, without any fault of 
his own. The coloured future ri33bN1, distinct from H33DK1 
(vid. on iii. 6 and lxxiii. 16), can only mean, in this passage, 
et ambiam, and not et ambibam as it does in a different con- 
nection (Isa. xliii. 26, cf. Judges vi. 9) ; it is the emotional 
continuation (cf. xxvii. 6, Cant. vii. 12, Isa. i. 24, v. 19, and 
frequently) of the plain and uncoloured expression yrr\». 
He wishes to wash his hands in innocence (3 of the state 
that is meant to be attested by the action), and compass 
(lix.7) the altar of Jahve. That which is elsewhere a symbolic 
act (Deut. xxi. 6, cf. Mat. xxvii. 24), is in this instance only 
a rhetorical figure made use' of to confess his consciousness of 
innocence; and it naturally assumes this form (cf. lxxiii. 13) 
from the idea of the priest washing his hands preparatory 
to the service of the altar (Exod. xxxii. 20 sq.) being asso- 
ciated with the idea of the altar. And, in general, the 
expression of vers. 6 sq. takes a priestly form, without 
exceeding that which the ritual admits of, by virtue of the 
consciousness of being themselves priests which appertained 
even to the Israelitish laity (Exod. xix. 16). For 33D can 
be used even of half encompassing as it were like a semi- 
circle (Gen. ii. 11, Num. xxi. 4), no matter whether it bo 
in the immediate vicinity of, or at a prescribed distance 

Digitized by 


352 PSALM XXVI. 7-11. 

from, the central point. JJD&6 is a syncopated and defect- 
ively written ffiph., for JPOBTTl^, like ~IDb6, Isa. xxiii. 11. 
Instead of rilln b\p fiDB^, "to canse the voice of thanksgiving 
to be heard", since jrotsTl is used absolutely (1 Chron. zv. 
19, 2 Chron. v. 13) and the object is conceived of as the 
instrument of the act (Ges. § 138, 1, rem. 3), it is "in order 
to strike in with the voice of thanksgiving". In the expres- 
sion "all Thy wondrous works" is included the latest of 
these, to which the voice of thanksgiving especially refers, 
viz. the bringing of him home from the exile he had suffer- 
ed from Absolom. Longing to be back again he longs most 
of all for the gorgeous services in the house of his God, 
which are performed around the altar of the outer court; 
for he loves the habitation of the house of God, the place, 
where His doxa, — revealed on earth, and in fact revealed 
in grace, — has taken up its abode. jiyo does not mean 
refuge, shelter (Hupfeld), — for although it may obtain 
this meaning from the context, it has nothing whatever to 
do with ^Lc , tned. Warn, in the signification to help (whence 
maun, ma tine, ma'dne, help, assistance, succour or support), 
— but place, dwelling, habitation, like the Arabic mddn, 
which the Kamus explains by menzil, a place to settle down 

in, and explains etymologically by ^**i\ J^sauo, i. e. "a 

spot on which the eye rests as an object of sight"; for in 
the Arabic mddn is traced back to ^le tned. Je, as is seen 
from the phrase hum minka bi-mddnin, i. e. they are from 
thee on a point of sight (= on a spot where thou canst see 
them from the spot on which thou standest). The signifi- 
cation place, sojourn, abode (Targ. 1110) is undoubted ; the 
primary meaning of the root is, however, questionable. 

Vers. 9 — 11. It is now, for the first time, that the 
petition compressed into the one word OBB# (ver. 1) is 
divided out. He prays (as in xxviii. 3), that God may not 
connect him in one common lot with those whose fellow- 
ship of sentiment and conduct he has always shunned. 
OW! 'B'JN, as in v. 7, cf. 5v6pa>itoi alpaTcov, Sir. xxxi. 25. 
Elsewhere ns] signifies purpose, and more particularly in a 
bad sense; but in this passage it means infamy, and not 
unnatural unchastity, to which crv~;3 is inappropriate, but 

Digitized by 



scum of whatever is vicious in general: they are full of 
cunning and roguery, and their right hand, which ought to 
uphold the right — David has the lords of his people in his 
eye — is filled (riN^O, not n$6o) with accursed (Deut. xxvii. 
25) bribery to the condemnation of the innocent. He, on 
the contrary, now, as he always has done, walks in his 
uprightness, so that now he can with all the more joyful 
conscience intreat God to interpose judicially in his behalf. 

Yer. 12. The epilogue. The prayer is changed into 
rejoicing which is certain of the answer that shall be given. 
Hitherto shut in, as it were, in deep trackless gorges, he 
even now feels himself to be standing "iIb^d?,* upon a pleas- 
ant plain commanding a wide range of vision (cf. 3ITia3, 
xxxi. 9), and now blends his grateful praise of God with the 
song of the worshipping congregation, fop (LXX. 4v sxxXyjoI- 
aic), and its full-voiced choirs. 



1 JAHVE is my light and my salvation, 

whom shall I fear? 
Jahve is the defence of my life, 

of whom shall I be afraid? 

2 When the wicked come against me, 

to eat up my flesh, 
My oppressors and my enemies to me — 

they have stumbled and fallen. 

3 Though a host should encamp against me, 

my heart shall not fear, 
Though war should rise up against me, 

in spite of it I will be confident. 

* The first labial of the combination 02, S3, when the preceding 
word ends with a vowel and the two words are closely connected, 
receives the Dagesh contrary to the general rale; on this orthophonio 
Dag. lene, vid. Luth. Zeitschr., 1863, S. 414. 

VOL. I 23 

Digitized by 



4 One thing have I asked of Jahve, 

that do I desire: 
That I may dwell in the house of Jahve 

all the days of my life, 
To behold the graciousness of Jahve, 

and to meditate in His temple. 

5 For He concealeth me in His pavilion 

in the day of evil, 
He hideth me in the shelter of His tabernacle, 
Upon a rock doth He raise me up. 

6 Thus then shall my head be exalted above 

mine enemies round about me, 
And I will offer in His tabernacle sacrifices 

of thankful joy. 
I will sing and play the harp to Jahve. 

7 Hear, Jahve, when I cry aloud; be gracious unto 

me and answer me. 

8 To Thee saith my heart: Seek ye My face — 
This Thy face, Jahve, will I seek. 

9 Hide not Thy face from me, 

Put not Thy servant away in anger; 

Thou art my help, cast me not away, 

And forsake me not, God of my salvation. 

10 For my father and mother have forsaken me, 
But Jahve taketh me up. 

11 Teach me, Jahve, Thy way, 

And lead me in an even path because of my Hers 
in wait. 

12 Give me not over into the will of mine oppressors, 
For false witnesses rise up against me and such as 

breathe out violence. 

13 Did I not believe to see Jahve's goodness in the land 

of the living — I 

14 Hope in Jahve, 

Be of good courage, and let thine heart be strong, 
And hope in Jahve. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXVII. 1—3 355 

The same longing after Zion meets us sounding forth 
from this as from the preceding Psalm. To remain his 
whole life long in the vicinity of the house of God, is here 
his only prayer; and that, rescued from his enemies, he shall 
there offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, is his confident expecta- 
tion. The ta'D of God, the King, is at present only a brv* 
which, however, on account of Him who sits enthroned 
therein, may just as much be called b^T\ as the i?3^n which 
Ezekiel beheld in remembrance of the Mosaic tabernacle, 
^>nix, Ezek. xli. 1. Cut off from the sanctuary, the poet is 
himself threatened on all sides by the dangers of war; but 
he is just as courageous in God as in iii. 7, where the battle 
is already going on: "J do not fear the myriads of people, 
who are encamped against me. n The situation, therefore, 
resembles that of David during the time of Absolom. But 
this holds good only of the first half, vers. 1 — 6. In the 
second half, ver. 10 is not in favour of its being composed 
by David. In fact the two halves are very unlike one 
another. They form a hysteron-proteron, inasmuch as the 
fides triumphans of the first part changes into fides supplex 
in the second, and with the beginning of the 8£t)oi« in ver. 7, 
the style becomes heavy and awkward, the strophic arrange- 
ment obscure , and even the boundaries of the lines of 
the verses uncertain; so that one is tempted to regard vers. 
7 — 14 as the appendage of another writer. The compiler, 
however, must have had the Psalm before him exactly as 
we now have it; for the grounds for his placing it to follow 
Ps. xxvi. are to be found in both portions, cf. ver. 7 with 
xxvi. 11; ver. 11 with xxvi. 12. 

Vers. 1 — 3. In this first strophe is expressed the bold 
confidence of faith. It is a hexastich in the csesural schema. 
Let darkness break in upon him, the darkness of night, of 
trouble, and of spiritual conflict, yet Jahve is his Light, 
and if he is in Him, he is in the light and there shines upon 
him a sun, that sets not and knows no eclipse. This sub- 
lime, infinitely profound name for God, nlN, is found only 
in this passage; and there is only one other expression that 
can be compared with it, viz. T)")1n N3 in Isa. lx. 1; cf. 
tf&i £A.r)Xo6a, John xii. 46. >yv\ does not stand beside niN 


Digitized by 


356 PSALM XXVIL 1—4. 

as an unfigurative, side by side with a figurative expression; 
for the statement that God is light, is not a metaphor. 
David calls Him his "salvation" in regard to everything that 
oppresses him, and the "stronghold (Tips from nj;, with an 
unchangeable a) of his life" in regard to everything that 
exposes him to peril. In Jahve he conquers far and wide; in 
Him his life is hidden as it were behind a fortress built upon 
a rock (xxxi. 3). When to the wicked who come upon him in 
a hostile way (bg 3"ij? differing from bx 3"1£), he attributes the 
intention of devouring his flesh, they are conceived of as wild 
beasts. To eat up any one's flesh signifies, even in Job xix. 22, 
the same as to pursue any one by evil speaking (in Aramaic 
by slander, back-biting) to his destruction. In 3"ij?2 the Shebd 
of the only faintly closed syllable is raised to a Chateph, as 
in 'J3t&6l, xxxi. 12, ^1M&6, and the like. The "b of "h '3$ may, 
as also in xxv. 2 (cf. cxliv. 2), be regarded as giving inten- 
sity to the notion of special, personal enmity; but a mere 
repetition of the subject (the enemy) without the repetition 
of their hostile purpose would be tame in the parallel 
member of the verse: "b is a variation of the preceding <5JJ» 
as in Lam. iii. 60 sq. In the apodosis 6sjl -l^tCG nan, the 
overthrow of the enemy is regarded beforehand as an 
accomplished fact. The holy boldness and imperturbable 
repose are expressed in ver. 3 in the very rhythm. The 
thesis or downward movement in ver. 3a is spondaic: he 
does not allow himself to be disturbed; the thesis in ver. Zb 
is iambic : he can be bold. The rendering of Hitzig (as of 
Rashi) : "in this do I trust, viz. that Jahve is my light, &c," 
is erroneous. Such might be the interpretation, if 'JN TW2 
nt2i2 closed ver. 2; but it cannot refer back over ver. 2 to 
ver. 1; and why should the poet have expressed himself 
thus materially, instead of saying flirvc? The fact of the 
case is this, nt2i2 signifies even by itself "of good courage", 
e. g. Prov. xi. 15; and PNT3 "in spite of this" (Coccejus: hoc 
non obstante), Lev. xxvi. 27, cf. Ps. lxxviii. 32, begins the apo- 
dosis, at the head of which we expect to find an adversative 

Vers. 4 — 5. There is only one thing, that he desires, 
although he also has besides full satisfaction in Jahve in 
the midst of strangers and in trouble. The future is used 

Digitized by 


PSALM. XXVII. 4—5. 857 

side by side with the perfect in ver. 4a, in order to express 
an ardent longing which extends out of the past into the 
future, and therefore runs through his whole life. The one 
thing sought is unfolded in 'tfi , H2tt'. A life-long dwelling 
in the house of Jahve, that is to say intimate spiritual inter- 
course with the God, who has His dwelling (IV2), His palace 
02'n) in the holy tent, is the one desire of David's heart, in 
order that he may behold and feast upon (2 nm of a clinging, 
lingering, chained gaze, and consequently a more signifi- 
cant form of expression than njn with an accusative, lxiii. 
3) 'D C$ (xc. 17), the pleasantness (or gracefulness) of 
Jahve, i. e. His revelation, full of grace, which is there 
visible to the eye of the spirit. The interpretation which 
regards amcenitas as being equivalent to ameenus cultus takes 
hold of the idea from the wrong side. The assertion that 
2 "!j52 is intended as a synonym of 3 Din, of a pleased and 
lingering contemplation (Hupf., Hitz.), is contrary to the 
meaning of the verb, which signifies "to examine (with h to 
seek or spie about after anything, Lev. xiii. 36), to reflect on, 
or consider" ; even the post-biblical signification to visit, more 
especially the sick (whence D'^l "lij92), comes from the pri- 
mary meaning investigare. An appropriate sense may be 
obtained in the present instance by regarding it as a deno- 
minative from ")j53 and rendering it as Dunash and Rashi 
have done, "and to appear early in His temple"; but it is 
unnecessary to depart from the general usage of the lan- 
guage. Hengstenberg rightly retains the signification "to 
meditate on". I^D'ra is a designation of the place conse- 
crated to devotion, and "Ij??^ is meant to refer to contem- 
plative meditation that loses itself in God who is there 
manifest. In ver. 5 David bases the justification of his 
desire upon that which the sanctuary of God is to him ; the 
futures affirm what Jahve will provide for him in His sanc- 
tuary. It is a refuge in which he may hide himself, where 
Jahve takes good care of him who takes refuge therein 
from the storms of trouble that rage outside: there he is 
far removed from all dangers, he is lifted high above them 
and his feet are upon rocky ground. The Chethib may be 
read H2D2, as in xxxi. 21 and with Ewald § 257,d; but, in 
this passage, with ^>nfc< alternates "rp, which takes the place 

Digitized by 


358 PSALM XXVII. 6-8. 

of D-D in the poetic style (lxxvi. 3, Lam. ii. 6), though it 
does not do so by itself, but always with a suffix. * 

Ver. 6. With nnjn the poet predicts inferentially (cf. 
ii. 10) the fulfilment of what he fervently desires, the gua- 
rantee of which lies in his very longing itself. n^Viri Tiat 
do not mean sacrifices in connection with which the trum- 
pets are blown by the priests ; for this was only the case in 
connection with the sacrifices of the whole congregation 
(Num. x. 10), not with those of individuals, njjnn is a 
synonym of rnlF), xxvi. 7; and njfnn Tat is a stronger form 
of expression for mm TC? (cvii. 22), i. e. (cf. pis '112?, iv. 6., 
Ii. 21) sacrifices of jubilant thanksgiving: he will offer sacri- 
fices in which his gratitude plays a prominent part, and will 
sing songs of thanksgiving, accompanied by the playing of 
stringed instruments, to his Deliverer, who has again and so 
gloriously verified His promises. 

Vers. 7 — 8. Vows of thanksgiving on the assumption 
of the answering of the prayer and the fulfilment of the 
thing supplicated, are very common at the close of Psalms. 
But in this Psalm the prayer is only just beginning at this 
stage. The transition is brought about by the preceding 
conception of the danger that threatens him from the side 
of his foes who are round about him. The reality, which, 
in the first part, is overcome and surmounted by his faith, 
makes itself consciously felt here. It is not to be rendered, 
as has been done by the Vulgate, Exaudi Domine vocem qua 
clamavi (rather, clamo) ad te (the introit of the Dominica 
exspectationis in the interval of preparation between Ascen- 
sion and Pentecost), yrytt has Dechi, and accordingly typ 
K*1pN, voce mea (as iniii.'d) clamo, is an adverbial clause 
equivalent to voce mea clamante me. In ver. 8 ?|b cannot 

* Just in like manner they say in poetic style nn'St, cxzxii. 15, 
rliZ, Prov. vii. 8; rPJD, Job zi. 9; PI93, Zech. iv. 2; and perhaps even 
R-33, Gen. xl. 10; for WITS, aWB, WHO, Pirfej, and an*J; as, ia 
general, shorter forms are sometimes found in the inflexion, which do 
not occur in the corresponding principal form, e.g. Oynt, xlix. 15, for 

nrnis; Dnuo, It. 16, for ornuo; dd")JJ3, job v. 13, for ano-va: 

DJ13P2, Hos. xiii. 2, for DT0Cn2; Dns/Nch. v. 14, for D«"J(TE.; cf. 
Hitzig on Hos. xiii. 2, and B&ttcher's Neue Aehrenlete, No. G93, 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXVII. »-10. 359 

possibly be so rendered that b is treated as Lamed auctoris 
(Dathe, Olshausen): Thine, saith my heart, is (the utter- 
ance :) seek ye my face. The declaration is opposed to this 
sense, thus artificially put upon it. -ion ?|^ are undoubtedly 
to be construed together; and what the heart says to Jahve 
is not: Seek ye my face, but by reason of this, and as its 
echo (Calvin: velut Deo succinens): I will therefore seek Thy 
face. Just as in Job xlii. 3, a personal inference is drawn 
from a directly quoted saying of God. In the periodic style 
it would be necessary to transpose >JD itt>j52 thus: since 
Thou hast permitted and exhorted us, or in accordance with 
Thy persuasive invitation, that we should seek Thy face, I 
do seek Thy face (Hupfeld). There is no retrospective refer- 
ence to any particular passage in the Tora, such as Deut. 
iv. 29. The prayer is not based upon any single passage of 
Scripture, but upon God's commands and promises in 

Vers. 9 — 10. The requests are now poured forth with 
all the greater freedom and importunity, that God may be 
willing to be entreated and invoked. The Hiph. nisri signi- 
fies in this passage standing by itself (cf. Job xxiv. 4): to 
push aside. The clause n»n 'rnpj does not say: be Thou 
my help (which is impossible on syntactical grounds), nor 
is it to be taken relatively: Thou who wast my help (for 
which there is no ground in what precedes); but on the 
contrary the preet. gives the ground of the request that 
follows "Thou art my help (lit. Thou has become, or haat 
ever been) — cast me, then, not away", and it is, moreover, 
accented accordingly. Ver. 10, as we have already observed, 
does not sound as though it came from the lips of David, 
of whom it is only said during the time of his persecution 
by Saul, that at that time he was obliged to part from his 
parents, 1 Sam. xxii. 3 sq. The words certainly might be 
David's, if ver. 10a would admit of being taken hypotheti- 
cally, as is done by Ewald, § 362,&: should my father and 
my mother forsake me, yet Jahve will &c. But the entrea- 
ty "forsake me not* is naturally followed by the reason: 
for my father and my mother have forsaken me ; and just 
as naturally does the consolation : but Jahve will take me 
up, prepare the way for the entreaties which begin anew in 

Digitized by 


3G0 PSALM XXV11. 11-14. 

ver. 11. Whereas, if '3 is taken hypothetically, ver. 11 stands 
disconnectedly in the midst of the surrounding requests. 
On OSOW cf. Josh. xx. 4. 

... t - r 

Vers. 11 — 12. He is now wandering about like a hunted 
deer; but God is able to guide him so that he may escape 
all dangers. And this is what he prays for. As in cxliii. 
10, "ilt^D is used in an ethical sense; and differs in this 
respect from its use in xxvi. 12. On O'VIB', see the primary 
passage v. 9, of which this is an echo. Wily spies dodge his 
every step and would gladly see what they have invented 
against him and wished for him , realised. Should he enter 
the way of sin leading to destruction, it would tend to the 
dishonour of God, just as on the contrary it is a matter of 
honour with God not to let His servant fall. Hence he 
prays to be led in the way of God, for a oneness of his 
own will with the divine renders a man inaccessible [to evil]. 
K'SJ, ver. 12, is used, as in xvii. 9, and in the similar passage, 
which is genuinely Davidic, xli. 3, in the signification pas- 
sion or strong desire; because the soul, in its natural state, 
is selfishness and inordinate desire, nBJ is a collateral 
form of rPBj; they are both adjectives formed from the 
future of the verb HIS (like 3"V , a'"]}): accustomed to breathe 
out (exhale), i.e. either to express, or to snort, breathe forth 
(cf. itvetv, or 8|*itveiv <p6vov and <p6vou, Sujiou, and the like, 
Acts ix. 1). In both Hitzig sees participles of HEP (Jer. iv. 
31); but x. 5 and Hab. ii. 3 lead back to rr>0 (fTD); and 
Hupfeld rightly recognises such nouns formed from futures 
to be, according to their original source, circumlocutions of 
the participle after the manner of an elliptical relative clause 

(the kaao of the Arabic syntax), and explains OOVS ITS], to* 

gether with Don IIS], from the verbal construction which 
still continues in force. 

Vers. 13 — 14. Self-encouragement to firmer confidence 
of faith. Joined to ver. 12 (Aben-Ezra, Eimchi), ver. 13 
trails badly after it. We must, with Geier, Dachselt, and 
others, suppose that the apodosis is wanting to the protasis 
with its xh'b pointed with three points above,* and four 

* The 1 has not any point above it, because it might be easily mis* 
taken for a Cholem, vid. Baer's Psalterium p. 130. 

Digitized by 


PSALM. XXVin. 361 

below, according to the Masora (cf. B. Berachoth 4a), but 
a word which is indispensably necessary, and is even attested 
by the LXX. (iaorfl) and the Targom (although not by any 
other of the ancient versions); cf. the protasis with *6, which 
has no apodosis, in Gen. 1. 15, and the apodoses with r3 after 
i^b in Gen. xxxi. 42, xliii. 10, 1 Sam. xxxv. 34, 2 Sam. ii. 27 
(also Num. xxii. 33, where '^ik = tb DN — ^&), which are 
likewise to be explained per aposiopesin. The perfect after 
vhb (w) has sometimes the sense of a plusquamperfectum 
(as in Gen. xliii. 10, nisi eunctati ettemus), and sometimes 
the sense of an imperfect, as in the present passage (cf. Deut. 
xxxii. 29, si saperent). The poet does not speak of a faith 
that he once had, a past faith, but, in regard to the danger 
that is even now abiding and present, of the faith he now 
has, a present faith. The apodosis ought to run something 
like this (cxix. 92, xciv. 17): did I not believe, were not 
confidence preserved to me . . . then (kc or TK >3) I should 
perish; or: then I had suddenly perished. But he has such 
faith, and he accordingly in ver. 14 encourages himself to 
go on cheerfully waiting and hoping; he speaks to himself, 
it is, as it were, the believing half of his soul addressing the 
despondent and weaker half. Instead of yoji (Deut. xxxi. 7) 
the expression is, as in xxxi. 25, *|abvc*P l, let thy heart be 
strong, let it give proof of strength. The rendering "May 
He (Jahve) strengthen thy heart" would require |>fi!s:> ; but 
yPKOi M e '9' - T^ **▼• 17, belongs to the transitive denomina- 
tives applying to the mind or spirit, in which the Hebrew is 
by no means poor, and in which the Arabic is especially rich. 



1 TO Thee, Jahve, do I cry; 

My Rock, remain not deaf to me, 
Lest, if Thou be silent to me, I belike them that go down 
to the pit. 

2 Hear the voice of my supplication, when I cry unto Thee, 
When I lift up my hands to Thy holy sanctuary. 

8 Carry me not away with the ungodly and with the workers 
of iniquity, 

Digitized by 



Who speak peace with their neighbours, 
While evil is in their hearts. 

4 Give to them according to their work and the wickedness 

of their deeds; 
According to the work of their hands give to them, 
Requite them what they have donel 

5 For they regard not the doings of Jahve, 
Nor the work of His hands — 

He shall pull them down, not build them up. 

6 Blessed be Jahve, 

Because He hath heard my loud supplication 1 

7 Jahve is my defence and my shield, 

In Him my heart trusted and I was helped — 
Therefore my heart exulteth , and with my song do 1 
praise Him. 

8 Jahve is a defence to them, 

And the saving defence of His anointed one is He. 

9 help Thy people 
And bless Thy heritage, 

And feed them, and bear them up for everl 

To Ps. xxvi. and xxvii. a third Psalm is here added, 
belonging to the time of the persecution by Absolom. In this 
Psalm, also, the drawing towards the sanctuary of God 
cannot be lost sight of; and in addition thereto we have the 
intercession of the anointed one, when personally imperilled, 
on behalf of the people who are equally in need of help, — 
an intercession which can only be rightly estimated in con- 
nection with the circumstances of that time. Like Ps. xxvii. 
this, its neighbour, also divides into two parts ; these parts, 
however, though their lines are of a different order, never- 
theless bear a similar poetic impress. Both are composed 
of verses consisting of two and three lines. There are 
many points of contact between this Psalm and Ps. xxvii.; 
e.g. in the epithet applied to God, riyo; but compare also 
ver. 3 with xxvi. 9; ver 2 with xxxi. 23; ver. 9 with xxix. 11. 
The echoes of this Psalm in Isaiah are very many, and also 
in Jeremiah. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXVIII. 1—5. 863 

Vers. 1 — 5. This first half of the Psalm (vers. 1 — 5) is 
supplicatory. The preposition jo in connection with the verbs 
tf"in,to be deaf, dumb, and nBTI,to keep silence, is a pregnant 
form of expression denoting an aversion or turning away 
which does not deign to give the suppliant an answer. Jahve 
is his "lilt, his ground of confidence; but if He continues thus 
to keep silence, then he who confides in Him will become 
like those who are going down (xzii. 30), or are gone down 
(Isa. xiv. 19) to the pit. The participle of the past answers 
better to the situation of one already on the brink of the 
abyss. In the double sentence with |S, the chief accent falls 
upon the second clause, for which the first only paratactical- 
ly opens up the way (cf. Isa. v. 4, xii. 1); in Latin it would 
be ne, te mihi non respondente, similis fiam. Olshausen , and 
Baur with him, believes that because >r^K>nji has not the 
accent on the ultima as being perf. consec, it must be inter- 
preted according to the accentuation thus, "in order that 
Thou mayst no longer keep silence, whilst I am already be- 
come like . .* But this ought to be bwoi ixt) , or at least 
"•r&BfCO *3W. And if irt>COJl were to be taken as a real per- 
fect, it would then rather have to be rendered "and I should 
then be like." But, notwithstanding t6#d:i is Milel, it is 
still perf. consecutivum ("and I am become like"); for if, in 
a sentence of more than one member following upon ;s, the 
fut., as is usually the case (yid. on xxxviii. 17), goes over 
into the perf., then the latter, in most instances, has the 
tone of the perf. consec. (Deut. iv. 19, Judges xviii. 25, Prov. 
v. 9 — 12, Mai. iii. 24), but not always. The penultima- 
accentuation is necessarily retained in connection with the 
two great pausal accents, Silluk and Athnach, Deut. viii. 12, 
Prov. xxx. 9; in this passage in connection with Rebia 
mugrash, just as we may say, in general, the perf. consec. 
sometimes retains its pinufttma-accentuation in connection 
with distinctives instead of being accented on the ultima; 
c. g. in connection with Rebia mugrash, Prov. xxx. 9; with 
Rebia, xix. 14 (cf. Prov. xxx. 9 with Ezek. xiv. 17); 
with Zakeph. 1 Sam. xxix. 8; and even with Tiphcha Obad. 
ver. 10, Joel iv. 21. The national grammarians are ignorant 
of any law on this subject.* 

* Aben-Ezra (Moznqfim 366) explains the perfect accented en the 

Digitized by VjOOQK 

364 PSALM XXVIII. 1—5. 

The point towards which the psalmist stretches forth his 
hands in prayer is Jahve's holy yzn . Such is the word 
(after the form IT'D, K^2, f>t?J!) used only in the Books of 
Kings and Chronicles, with the exception of this passage, to 
denote the Holy of Holies, not as being xP 1 J(* aTl0T 'JP l0v 
(Aquila and Symmachus), or XaX-qxTjpiov, oraculum (Jerome), 
as it were, Jahve's audience chamber (Hengstenberg) — a 
meaning that is not in accordance with the formation of the 
word, — but as the hinder part of the tent, from "Qi , Arabic 
dabara, to be behind, whence dubr (Talmudic "OH), that 
which is behind (opp. kubl, kibal, that which is in the front), 
cf. Jesurun p. 87 sq. In vers. 3, 4 the prayer is expanded. 
"tt'D (instead of which we find r)DN in xxvi. 9), to draw any 
one down forcibly to destruction, or to drag him to the 
place of judgment, Ezek. xxxii. 20. cf. x. 9, Job. xxiv. 22. 
The delineation of the ungodly David borrows from his 
actual foes. Should he succumb to them, then his fate 
would be like that which awaits them, to whom he is con- 
scious that he is radically unlike. He therefore prays that 
God's recompensing justice may anticipate him, i. e. that 
He may requite them according to their desert, before he 
succumbs, to whom they have feigned dW, a good under- 
standing, or being on good terms, whereas they cherished 
in their heart the HSJl that is now unmasked (cf. Jer. ix. 7). 
jro, used of an official adjudication, as in Hos. ix. 14, Jer. 
xxxii. 19. The epanaphora of 0!"6~)FI is like xxvii. 14.* The 
phrase i 7iDl JB'TI (O^B|), which occurs frequently in the 
prophets, signifies to recompense or repay to any one his 
accomplishing, his manifestation, that is to say, what he has 
done and merited; the thoughts and expression call to mind 
more particularly Isa. iii. 8 — 11, i. 16. The right to pray 
for recompense (vengeance) is grounded, in ver. 5, upon 
their blindness to God's just and merciful rule as it is to be 
seen in human history (cf. Isa. v. 12, xxii. 11). The contrast 
of D33 and cnn, to pull down (with a personal object, as in 

penult, in Prov. xxx. 9 from the conformity of sound, and Eimchi (Mieh- 
lol GJ) simply records the phenomenon. 

* This repetition, at the end, of a significant word that has been 
nsed at the beginning of a verse, is a favourite custom of Isaiah's 
(Comment. S. 387; transUii. 134). 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXVIII. 6—9. 365 

Exod. xt. 7), is like Jeremiah's style (ch. xlii. 10, cf. i. 10, 
xviii. 9, and frequently, Sir. xlix. 7). In ver. 5a, the pro- 
minent thought in David's mind is, that they shamefully fail 
to recognise how gloriously and graciously God has again 
and again acknowledged him as His anointed one. He has 
(2 Sam. vii.) received the promise, that God would build him 
a house, i.e. grant perpetual continuance to his kingship. 
The Absolomites are in the act of rebellion against this 
divine appointment. Hence they shall experience the very 
reverse of the divine promise given to David: Jahve will 
pull them down and not build them up, He will destroy, at 
its very commencement, this dynasty set up in opposition 
to God. 

Vers. 6 — 9. The first half of the Psalm prayed for 
deliverance and for judgment; this second half gives thanks 
for both. If the poet wrote the Psalm at one sitting then 
at this point the certainty of being answered dawns upon 
him. But it is even possible that he added this second part 
later on, as a memorial of the answer he experienced to 
his prayer (Hitzig, Ewald). It sounds, at all events, like 
the record of something that has actually taken place. 
Jahve is his defence and shield. The conjoined perfects in 
ver. 7b. denote that which is closely united in actual reali- 
sation; and in the fut.consec, as is frequently the case, e.g. 
in Job. xiv. 2, the historical signification retreats into the 
background before the more essential idea of that which 
has been produced. In i"V&E, the song is conceived as the 
spring whence the nmn bubble forth; and instead of I2y,n we 
have the more impressive form lining , as in xlv. 18, cxvi. 6, 
1 Sam. xvii. 47, the syncope being omitted. From suffering 
(Leid) springs song (Lied), and from song springs the praise 
(Lob) of Him, who has "turned" the suffering, just as it is at- 
tuned in vers. 6 and8.*The aotot, who are intended by fo^in 
ver. 8a, are those of Israel, as in xii. 8, Isa. xxxiii. 2 
(Hitzig). The LXX. (xpatatojjKx too Xaoo ataoo) reads layS, 
as in xxix. 11, which is approved by Bottcher, Olshausen 
and Hupfeld; but id? yields a similar sense. First of all 

* There is a play of words and an alliteration in this sentence which 
we cannot fully reproduce in the English. — TB. 

Digitized by 



David thinks of the people, then of himself; for his 
private character retreats behind his official, by virtue of 
which he is the head of Israel. For this very reason his 
deliverance is the deliverance of Israel, to whom, so far as 
they have become unfaithful to His anointed, Jahve has 
not requited this faithlessness, and to whom, so far as they 
have remained true to him, He has rewarded this fidelity. 
Jahve is a ty to them, inasmuch as He preserves them by 
His might from the destruction into which they would have 
precipitated themselves, or into which others would have 
precipitated them; and He is the niyHS* TlpD of His anointed, 
inasmuch as He surrounds him as an inaccessible place of 
refuge which secures to him salvation in all its fulness 
instead of the destruction anticipated. Israel's salvation 
and blessing were at stake; but Israel is in fact God's people 
and God's inheritance — may He, then, work salvation for 
them in every future need and bless them. Apostatised 
from David, it was a flock in the hands of the hireling — 
may He ever take the place of shepherd to them and carry 
them in His arms through the destruction. The DNS0J 
coupled with ojrn (thus it is to be pointed according to 
Ben-Asher) calls to mind Deut. i. 31, "Jahve carried Israel 
as a man doth carry his son", and Exod. xix. 4, Deut. xxxii. 
11, "as on eagles' wings." The Piel, as in Isa. lxiii. 9, is used 
of carrying the weak, whom one lifts up and thus removes 
out of its helplessness and danger. Ps. iii. closes just in 
the same way with an intercession; and the close of Ps. xxix. 
is similar, but promissory, and consequently it is placed 
next to Ps. xxviii. 



1 GIVE unto Jahve, ye sons of God, 
Give unto Jahve glory and might 1 

2 Give unto Jahve the glory of His name, 
Do homage to Jahve in holy attire! 

3 The voice of Jahve is upon the waters. 
The God of Glory thundereth, 

Digitized by 



i ahve is upon the great waters. 

4 The voice of Jahve goeth forth in power, 
The voice of Jahve goeth forth in majesty. 

5 The voice of Jahve breaketh the cedars, 
Yea, Jahve breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. 

6 And He maketh them to skip like a calf, 
Lebanon and Sirion like a young antelope. 

7 The voice of Jahve flameth forth quivering fire. 

8 The voice of Jahve shaketh the wilderness. 
Jahve shaketh the wilderness of Eadesh. 

9 The voice of Jahve maketh the hinds to travail, 
He strippeth the forest — 

And in His temple everything saith: "Glory 1* 

10 Jahve hath sat at the Flood, 

And Jahve sitteth a King for ever. 
li Jahve will give power to His people, 

Jahve will bless His people with peace. 

The occasion of this Psalm is a thunderstorm ; it is not, how - 
ever, limited to the outward natural phenomena, but therein 
is perceived the self-attestation of the God of the redemptive 
history. Just as in the second part of Ps. six. the God of 
the revelation of salvation is called nirr seven times in dis- 
tinction from the God revealed in nature, so in this Psalm 
of thunders , 71 hip is repeated seven times , so that it may 
be called the Psalm of the 4irx4 jSpovrai (Apoc. x. 3 sq.). 
During the time of the second Temple , as the addition to 
the inscription by the LXX. ejooi'oo (££68oo) oxijvtj? (— oxtjvo- 
itij-y Jot?) seems to imply *, it was sung on the Shemini Azereth, 
the last day (e?66iov, Lev. xxiii. 36) of the feast of taber- 
nacles. Between two tetrastichs, in each of which the name 

* The Ttf of the Temple liturgy of the Shemini Azereth is not 
stated in the Talmud (vid. Totefoth to B. Sucea Ala, where, according 
to Sofrim xix. § 2 and a statement of the Jerusalem Talmud, Ps. vi., or 
xii, is guessed at). We only know, that Ps. xxix. belongs to the Psalm- 
portions for the intervening days of the feast of tabernacles, which are 

Digitized by 


368 PSALM XXIX. 1—2. 

mrp occurs four times, lie three pentastichs, which, in their 
sevenfold Tl bp, represent the peals of thunder which follow 
in rapid succession as the storm increases in its fury. 

Vers. 1 — 2. The opening strophe calls upon the celestial 
spirits to praise Jahve; for a revelation of divine glory is 
in preparation, which, in its first movements, they are ac- 
counted worthy to behold, for the roots of everything that 
takes place in this world are in the invisible world. It is 
not the mighty of the earth, who are called in lxxxii. 6 
|1^J? VE, but the angels, who are elsewhere called D'H'Sn "03 
(e.g. Job ii. 1), that are here, as in lxxxix. 7, called ab» 'El! 
Since ah* never means God, like OTPn (so that it could be 
rendered sons of the deity), but gods, Exod. xv. 11, Dan. 
ix. 36, the expression D"bi< 'J2 must be translated as a double 
plural from &TJ3, after the analogy of Owb? VQ, Isa. xlii. 
22, from vbs tV3 (Ges. § 108, 3), "sons of God", not "sons 
of gods." They, the God-begotten, i.e. created in the image 
of God, who form with God their Father as it were one 
family (vid. Genesis S. 121), are here called upon to give 
unto God glory and might (the primary passage is Deut. 
xxxii. 3), i.e. to render back to Him cheerfully and joyously 
in a laudatory recognition, as it were by an echo, His glory 
and might, which are revealed and to be revealed in the 
created world, and to give unto Him the glory of His name, 
i.e. to praise His glorious name (lxxii. 19) according its 
deserts. on in all three instances has the accent on the 
ultima according to rule (cf., on the other hand, Job vi. 22). 
Bhp rnin is holy vestments, splendid festal attire, 2 Chron. 

comprehended in the vox memorialis 'na'Dlfl (Succa 55a, cf. Bashi on 
Joma 3a), viz. Ps xxix. (n); 1. 16 (l); xciy. 16 (o); xciv. 8 (a); lxxxi. 
7 (n) ; lxxxii. 56 ('). Besides this the treatise Sofrim xviii. § 3 mentions 
Ps. xxix. as the Psalm for the festival of Pentecost and the tradition 
of the synagogue which prevails even at the present day recognises it 
only as a festival Psalm of the first day of Sbabnoth [Pentecost] ; the 
Psalm for Shemini Azereth is the 65th. The only confirmation of the 
statement of the LXX. is to be fonnd in the Sohar; for there (section 
X) Ps. xxix. is referred to the pouring forth of the water on the seventh 
day of the feast of tabernacles (Hosianna rabba), since it is said, that 
by means of the seven m?-p (corresponding to the seven compassings 
of the altar) seven of the Sephiroth open the flood-gates of heaven. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXIX. 3—9. 369 

kx. 21, cf. Ps. ex. 3.* A revelation of the power of God is 
near at hand. The heavenly spirits are to prepare themselves 
for it with all the outward display of which they are capable. 
If ver. 2 were a summons to the church on earth, or, as in 
xcvi. 9, to the dwellers upon the earth, then there ought 
to be some expression to indicate the change in the parties 
addressed; it is, therefore, in ver. 2 as in ver. 1, directed to 
the priests of the heavenly b^T\. In the Apocalypse, also, 
the songs of praise and trumpeting of the angels precede 
the judgments of God. 

Vers. 3 — 9. Now follows the description of the revela- 
tion of God's power, which is the ground of the summons, 
and is to be the subject-matter of their praise. The All- 
glorious One makes Himself heard in the language (Apoc. 
x. 3 sq.) of the thunder, and reveals Himself in the storm. 
There are fifteen lines, which naturally arrange themselves 
into three five-line strophes. The chief matter with the 
poet, however, is the sevenfold 71 'Tip. Although b*p is some- 
times used almost as an ejaculatory "Hark 1" (Gen. iv. 10, 
Isa. lii. 8), this must not, with Ewald (§ 286, /"), be applied 
to the Tl ^Tp of the Psalm before us, the theme of which is 
the voice of God, who announces Himself from heaven, — 
a voice which moves the world. The dull sounding ^lp serves 
not merely to denote the thunder of the storm, but even the 
thunder of the earthquake, the roar of the tempest, and 
in general, every low, dull, rumbling sound, by which God 
makes Himself audible to the world, and more especially 
from the wrathful side of His doxa. The waters in ver. 3 
are not the lower waters. Then the question arises what 
are they? Were the waters of the Mediterranean intended, 
they would be more definitely denoted in such a vivid 
description. It is, however, far more appropriate to the 
commencement of this description to understand them to 
mean the mass of water gathered together in the thick, 
black storm-clouds (vid. xviii. 12, Jer. x. 13). The rumb- 

* The reading proposed in B. Berachoth 30* Wra (with holj 
trembling) has never been a various reading; nor has P*isn3, after 
which the LXX. renders it iv aiiXfl d?(a a&tou. 

VOL. I. 24 

Digitized by 


370 PSALM XXIX. 3—9. 

ling* of Jahve is, as the poet himself explains in ver. 3b, the 
thunder produced on high by the 1133H bx (cf. 1123D "£©, 
xxiv. 7 sqq.), which rolls over the sea of waters floating 
above the earth in the sky. Ver. 4m and 4&, just like ver. 
3a and 3b, are independent substantival clauses. The 
rumbling of Jahve is, issues forth, or passes by; 2 
with the abstract article as in lxxvii. 14, Prov. xxiv. 5 
(cf. Prov. viii. 8, Luke iv. 32, iv to^oi' Apoc. xviii. 2), 
is the 3 of the distinctive attribute. In ver. 3 the first 
peals of thunder are heard ; in ver. 4 the storm is coming 
nearer, and the peals become stronger, and now it bursts 
forth with its full violence: ver. 5a describes this in a general 
form, and ver. 5b expresses by the fut. consec, as it were 
inferentially, that wbich is at present taking place : amidst 
the rolling of the thunder the descending lightning flashes 
rive the cedars of Lebanon (as is well-known, the lightning 
takes the outermost points). The suffix in ver. 6a does not 
refer prolepticafly to the mountains mentioned afterwards, 
but naturally to the cedars (Hengst., Hupf., Hitz.), which 
bend down before the storm and quickly rise up again. The 
skipping of Lebanon and Sirion, however, is not to be re- 
ferred to the fact, that their wooded summits bend down 
and rise again, but, according to cxiv. 4, to their being 
shaken by the crash of the thunder, — a feature in the 
picture which certainly does not rest upon what is actually 
true in nature , but figuratively describes the apparent 
quaking of the earth daring a heavy thunderstorm. |T"C , 
according to Deut. iii. 9, is the Sidonian name of Hermon, 
and therefore side by side with Lebanon it represents Anti- 
Lebanon. The word, according to the Masora, has v? sini- 
strum, and consequently is "WHy, wherefore Hitzig correctly 
derives it from t~» , fut. »., to gleam, sparkle , cf. the passage 
from an Arab poet at cxxxiii. 3. The lightning makes these 
mountains bound (Luther, lecken, i.e. according to his 

* The simple rendering of ?'p by "voice" has been retained in the 
text of the Psalm, as in the Authorised Version. The word, however, which 
Dr. Delitzsch uses is Gedrohn, the best English equivalent of which i* 
a "rambling." — TK. 

Digitized by 


PSALM. XXIX. 3—9. 371 

explanation: to spring, skip) like young antelopes. OKI.*, 
like PouPaXo?, poo|3aAi«, is a generic name of the antelope, 
and of the buffalo that roams in herds through the forests 
beyond the Jordan even at the present day; for there are ante- 
lopes that resemble the buffalo and also (except in the forma- 
tion of the head and the cloven hoofs) those that resemble the 
horse. The LXX. renders: «k olo? (lovoxspokwv. Does this 
mean the unicorn [Germ, one-horn] depicted on Persian and 
African monuments ? Is this unicorn distinct from the one 
horned antelope? Neither an unicorn nor an one horned an- 
telope have been seen to the present day by any traveller. 
Both animals, and consequently also their relation to one 
another, are up to the present time still undefinable from a 
scientific point of view.** 

Each peal of thunder is immediately followed by a flash 
of lightning; Jahve's thunder cleaveth flames of fire, i. e. 
forms (as it were A.ato|iet) the fire-matter of the storm-clouds 
into cloven flames of fire, into lightnings that pass swiftly 
along; in connection with which it must be remembered 
that Tl b)p denotes not merely the thunder as a phenomenon, 
but at the same time it denotes the omnipotence of God 
expressing itself therein. The brevity and threefold division 
of ver. 7 depicts the incessant, zigzag, quivering movement 

•On J vid. 8eetzen'8 Reisen iii. 339 and also iv. 496. 

** By ON") Ludolf in opposition to Bochart understands the rhino- 
ceros; but this animal, belonging to the swine tribe, is certainly not 
meant, or even merely associated with it. Moreo?er, the rhinoceros 
[Germ, nose-horn] is called in Egypt charnin (from ,o** = ijj-s)> Du * 

the unicorn, eharnit. "In the year 1 862 the French archaeologist, M. Wad- 
dington, was with me in Damascus when an antiquary brought me an 
ancient vessel on which a number of animals were engraved, their 
names being written 'on their bellies. Among the well known animals 
there was also an unicorn, exactly like a zebra or a horse, but with a 
long horn standing oat upon its forehead; on its body was the word 
■ •...« *^. M. Waddington wished to have the vessel and I gave it up 

to him; and he took it with him to Paris. We talked a good deal 
about this unicorn, and felt obliged to come to the conclusion that the 
form of the fabulous animal might have become known to the Arabs at 
the time of the crusades, when the English coat of arms came to 
Syria." — Wetzstein. 


Digitized by 


372 PSALM XXIX. 10-11. 

of the lightning (tela trisulca, ignes trisulci, in Ovid). From 
the northern mountains the storm sweeps on towards the 
south of Palestine into the Arabian desert, viz. as we are 
told in ver. 8b (cf. ver. 5, according to the schema of "pa- 
rallelism by reservation"), the wilderness region of Kadesh 
(Kadesh Barnea), which, however we may define its position, 
must certainly have lain near the steep western slope of the 
mountains of Edom toward the Arabah. Jahve's thunder, 
viz. the thunderstorm, puts this desert in a state of whirl, 
inasmuch as it drives the sand (^in) before it in whirlwinds ; 
and among the mountains it, viz. the strong lightning and 
thundering, makes the hinds to writhe, inasmuch as from 
fright they bring forth prematurely. Both the ffiph. b^TV 
and the Pit. bbw t are used with a causative meaning (root 
in, Tt, to move in a circle, to encircle). The poet continues 
with F)BTP! , since he makes one effect of the storm to de- 
velope from another, merging as it were out of its chrysalis 
state, rvhjr is a poetical plural form; and rffl) describes 
the effect of the storm which "shells" the woods, inasmuch 
as it beats down the branches of the trees , both the tops 
and the foliage. While Jahve thus reveals Himself from 
heaven upon the earth in all His irresistible power, 1t>3V13, in 
His heavenly palace (xi. 4, xviii. 7), ite (note how YPZTD 
resolves this fc out of itself), i. e. each of the beings therein, 
says: 1133. That which the poet, in vers. 1 — 2, has called 
upon them to do, now takes place. Jahve receives back 
His glory, which is immanent in the universe, in the thousand- 
voiced echo of adoration. 

Vers. 10 — 11. Luther renders it: "The Lord sitteth to 
prepare a Flood", thus putting meaning into the unintelli- 
gible rendering of the Vulgate and LXX.; and in fact a 
meaning that accords with the language — for b 3#J is 
most certainly intended to be understood after the analogy 
of CDtwo"' 3t2", cxxii. 5, cf. ix. 8 — just as much as with the 
context; for the poet has not thus far expressly referred to 
the torrents of rain, in which the storm empties itself. Engel- 
hardtalso (Lutherische Zeitschrift, 1861, 216 f.), Kurtz (Bibel 
und Astronomie, S. 568, Aufl. 4), Biehm (Liter. -Blatt of the 
Allgem. Kirchen-Zeit., 1864, S. 110), and others understand 
by tnso the quasi-flood of the torrent of rain accompanying 

Digitized by 



the lightning and thunder. But the word is not •Ocb, but 
bvnh, and ^3»n (Syr. mom&T) occurs exclusively in Gen. 
vi. — zi. as the name of the great Flood. Every tempest, 
however, calls to mind this judgment and its merciful 
issue, for it comes before us in sacred history as the first 
appearance of rain with lightning and thunder, and of the 
bow in the clouds speaking its message of peace {Genesis, 
S. 276). The retrospective reference to this event is also 
still further confirmed by the aorist 3^1 which follows the 
perfect 2t£h (Hofmann, Schriftbetveis i. 208). Jahve — says 
the poet — sat (upon His throne) at the Flood (to execute 
it), and sits (enthroned) in consequence thereof, or since 
that time, as this present revelation of Him in the tempest 
shews, as King for ever, inasmuch as He rules down here 
upon earth from His throne in the heavens (cxv. 16) in wrath 
and in mercy, judging and dispensing blessing. Here upon 
earth He has a people, whom from above He endows with 
a share of His own might and blesses with peace, while the 
tempests of His wrath burst over their foes. How expressive 
is DISS'S as the closing word of this particular Psalm I It 
spans the Psalm like a rain-bow. The opening of the Psalm 
shews us the heavens opened and the throne of God in the 
midst of the angelic songs of praise, and the close of the 
Psalm shews us, on earth, His people victorious and bless- 
ed with peace (3 as in Gen. xxiv. 1*), in the midst of 
Jahve's voice of anger, which shakes all things. Gloria in 
excelris is its beginning, and pax in terris its conclusion. 




2 I WILL extol Thee, Jahve, that Thou hast raised me up, 
And hast not made mine enemies to rejoice over me. 

3 Jahve, my God, I cried to Thee, then Thou didst heal me; 

* The Holy One, blessed be He — says the Mishna, Ukiin iii. 12, 
with reference to this passage in the Psalms — has not found any 
othei vessel ( , '3) to hold the blessing specially allotted to Israel 

Digitized by 



4 Jahve, Thou hast brought up my soul from Hades, 
Thou hast revived me, that I should not go down to 

the grave. 

5 Sing unto Jahve, ye saints of His, 
And give thanks to His holy name. 

6 For His anger endureth hut for a moment, His favour 

for a life long; 
At eventide weeping cometh in for the night — 
And in the morning cometh a shout of joy. 

7 I, however, thought in my security: 
"I shall not totter for ever." 

8 Jahve, by Thy favour hadst Thou made my mountain 

to stand strong; 
Thou hast hidden Thy face, — I became troubled. 

9 To Thee, Jahve, did I cry, 

And to Jahve, made I supplication: 

10 "What profit is there in my blood, in my going down to 

the grave? 
"Shall the dust praise Thee? shall it declare Thy truth? 

11 "Hear, Jahve, and be gracious unto mel 
"Jahve, be Thou my helper!" 

12 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing, 
Thou hast put off my sackcloth and didst gird me 

with joy; 

13 To the end that my glory might sing of Thee, and not 

be silent — 
Jahve, my God, for ever will I praise Thee. 

The summons to praise God which is addressed to the 
angels above in Ps. xxix., is directed in Ps. xxz. to the 
pious here below. There is nothing against the adoption of 
tl e "n~6. Hitzig again in this instance finds all kinds of in- 
dications of Jeremiah's hand; but the parallels in Jeremiah 
are echoes of the Psalms, and WPTl in ver. 2 does not need 
to be explained of a lowering into a tank or dungeon, it is 
a metaphorical expression for raising up out of the depths 

Digitized by 



of affliction. Even Hezekiah's song of thanksgiving in Isa. 
xxxviii. has grown out of the two closing strophes of this 
Psalm under the influence of an intimate acquaintance with 
the Book of Job. We are therefore warranted in supposing 
that it is David, who here, having in the midst of the sta- 
bility of his power come to the verge of the grave, and now 
being roused from all carnal security, as one who has been 
rescued, praises the Lord, whom he has made his refuge, and 
calls upon all the pious to join with him in his song. The 
Psalm bears the inscription: A Song-Psalm at the Dedication 
of the House, by David. This has been referred to the de- 
dication of the site of the future Temple, 2 Sam. xxiv., 1 
Chron. xxi.; but although the place of the future Temple 
together with the altar then erected on it, can be called 
mn» rV3 (1 Chron. xxii. 1), and might also at any rate be 
called absolutely rvari (as rP3T) "]!"l, the Temple hill); yet we 
know that David did not himself suffer (2 Sam. xxiv. 17) 
from the pestilence, which followed as a punishment upon 
the numbering of the people which he instituted in his arro- 
gant self-magnification. The Psalm, however, also does not 
contain anything that should point to a dedication of a 
sanctuary, whether Mount Moriah, or the tabernacle, 2 Sam. 
vi. 17. It might more naturally be referred to the re-con- 
secration of the palace, that was defiled by Absolom, after 
David's return; but the Psalm mentions some imminent 
peril, the gracious averting of which does not consist in the 
turning away of bloodthirsty foes, but in recovery from some 
sickness that might have proved fatal. Thus then it must 
be the dedication of the citadel on Zion , the building of 
which was just completed. From 2 Sam. v. 12 we see that 
David regarded this building as a pledge of the stability and 
exaltation of his kingdom; and all that is needed in order to 
understand the Psalm is, with Aben-Ezra, Flaminius, Crusius, 
and Vaihinger, to infer from the Psalm itself, that David 
had been delayed by some severe illness from taking pos- 
session of the new building. The situation of Ps. xvi. is just 
like it. The regular official title rPSST^jJ "18/N (majordomo) 
shews, that fl'SH, used thus absolutely, may denote the 
palace just as well as the Temple. The LXX. which renders 
it too &-fxaivio|ioo xou oixio (too) ActoiS, understands the pal- 

Digitized by 


376 PSALM XXX. 2—4. 

ace, not the Temple. In the Jewish ritual, Ps. xxx. is cer- 
tainly, as is even stated in the Tractate Sofrim xviii. § 2, 
the Psalm for the feast of Chanucca, or Dedication, which 
refers to 1 Mace. iv. 52 sqq. 

Vers. 2 — 4. The Psalm begins like a hymn. The Piel 
PlVl (from rta , Arab. 5to, to hold anything long, loose and 

pendulous, whether upwards or downwards, conj. V. ^JJ , 
to dangle) signifies to lift or draw up, like a bucket (i^n , 
Greek dvrXtov, Latin tollo, totteno in Festus). The poet him- 
self says what that depth is into which he had sunk and 
out of which God had drawn him up without his enemies 
rejoicing over him (^ as in xxv, 2), i. e. without allowing 
them the wished for joy at his destruction: he was brought 
down almost into Hades in consequence of some fatal sick- 
ness. HTl (never: to call into being out of nothing) always 
means to restore to life that which has apparently or really 
succumbed to death, or to preserve anything living in life. 
With this is easily and satisfactorily joined the Keri 113 , ttc 
(without Makkeph in the correct text) , ita ut non descen- 
der em; the infinitive of T]J in this instance following the 
analogy of the strong verb is tp , like Bd> , |1b» , and 
with suffix Jordi (like Josdi , Job xxxviii. 4) or jar di, for 
here it is to be read thus, and not jordi (vid. on xvi. 1, 
lxxxvi. 2).* The Chethib mvo might also be the infinitive, 
written with Cholem plenum, as an infinitive Gen. xxxii. 20, 
and an imperative Num. xxiii. 8, is each pointed with Cholem 
instead of Kametz chatuph ; but it is probably intended to be 
read as a participle, 'Tjftp: Thou hast revived me from 
those who sink away into the grave (xxviii. 1), or out of 
the state of such (cf. xxii. 22b) — a perfectly admissible 
and pregnant construction. 

Vers. 5 — 6 call upon all the pious to praise this God, 
who after a short season of anger is at once and henceforth 
gracious. Instead of CB' of Jahve, we find the expression 

• The Masora does not place the word under V'\ pw NTO'D ybt* 
rSDp I'DDni (Introduction 284), as one would expect to find it if it were 
to be read mijordi, and proceeds on the assumption that mijardi i% infinitive 
like T)0^ (read 'amadcha) Obad. ver 11, not participle (Ewald, S. 533). 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXX. 5-8. 377 

-pT in this instance, as inxcvii. 12 after Exod. iii. 15. Jahve, 
by revealing Himself, renders Himself capable of being 
both named and remembered, and that in the most illustrious 
manner. The history of redemption is, as it were, an un- 
folding of the Name of Jahve and at the same time a setting 
up of a monument, an establishment of a memorial, and in 
fact the erection of a ttnp ~d? ; because all God's self-attesta- 
tions, whether in love or in wrath, flow from the sea of light 
of His holiness. When He manifests Himself to His own 
love prevails; and wrath is, in relation to them, only a 
vanishing moment: a moment passes in His anger, a (whole) 
life in Sis favour, i. e. the former endures only for a moment, 
the latter the whole life of a man. a AUes Ding mShrt seine 
Zeii, Gottes LieV in Emigkeit." All things last their season, 
God's love to all eternity. The preposition a does not here, 
as in the beautiful parallel Isa. liv. 7 sq., cf. lx. 10, denote 
the time and mode of that which takes place, but the state 
in which one spends the time. Ver. 6b c portrays the rapi- 
dity with which love takes back wrath (cf. Isa. xvii. 14): 
in the evening weeping takes up its abode with us for the 
night, but in the morning another guest, viz. rOT, appears, 
like a rescuing angel, before whom ipa disappears. The 
predicate rb\ does not belong to ver. 6c as well (Hupfeld, 
Hitzig). The substantival clause: and in the morning 
joy-* joy is present, depicts the unexpectedness and surprise 
of the help of Him who sends oa and P1J"). 

Vers. 7 — 8. David now relates his experience in detail, 
beginning with the cause of the chastisement, which he has 
just undergone. In 'FnON \JNl (as in xxxi. 23, Psa. xlix. 4) 
he contrasts his former self-confidence, in which (like the 
yen, x. 6) he thought himself to be immoveable, with the 
God-ward trust he has now gained in the school of affliction. 
Instead of confiding in the Giver, he trusted in the gift, as 
though it had been his own work. It is uncertain, — but 
it is all the same in the end, — whether *6t8' is the inflected 
infinitive )bv of the verb ii?B> (which we adopt in our transla- 
tion), or the inflected noun ibvf O^SSf) — l^t? » after the form 
Ttiff i a swimming, Ezek. xlvii. 5, =- rii'rK?, Jer. xxii. 21. 
The inevitable consequence of such carnal security, as it 
is more minutely described in Deut. viii. 11 — 18, is some 

Digitized by 


378 PSALM XXX. 8—11. 

humbling divine chastisement. This intimate connection is 
expressed by the perfects in ver. 8, which represent God's 
pardon, God's withdrawal of favour, which is brought about 
by his self-exaltation, and the surprise of his being undeceived, 
as synchronous, ty "POg.n» to set up might is equivalent 
to : to give it as a lasting possession ; cf. 2 Chron. xxxiii. 8, 
which passage is a varied, but not (as Riehm supposes) a 
corrupted, repetition of 2 Kings xxi. 8. It is, therefore, 
unnecessary, as Hitzig does, to take b as accusatival and 
Tj? as adverbial: in Thy favour hadst Thou made my moun- 
tain to stand firm. The mountain is Zion, which is strong 
by natural position and by the additions of art (2 Sam. v. 9); 
and this, as being the castle-hill, is the emblem of the king- 
dom of David: Jahve had strongly established his kingdom 
for David, when on account of his trust in himself He made 
him to feel how all that he was he was only by Him , and 
without Him he was nothing whatever. The form of the 
inflexion '*ni"l, instead of '"in ■- harri, is defended by Gen. 
xiv. 6 and Jer. xvii. 3 (where it is nin M if from "nil). 
The reading mi"6 (LXX., Syr.), i. e. to my kingly dignity 
is a happy substitution; whereas the reading of the Targum 
'Yin*?, "placed (me) on firm mountains", at once refutes itself 
by the necessity for supplying "me." 

Vers. 9 — 11. Nevertheless he who is thus chastened 
prayed fervently. The futures in ver. 9, standing as they 
do in the full flow of the narration, have the force of imper- 
fects, of "the present in the past" as the Arabian grammarians 
call it. From the question "What profit is there (the usual 
expression for xi 3<peXo«, quid lucri) in my blood?", it is not 
to be inferred that David was in danger of death by the 
hand of a foe; for 'JNDim in ver. 3 teaches us very different, 
"what profit would there be in my blood?" is therefore 
equivalent to (cf. Job xvi. 18) what advantage would there 
be in Thy slaying me before my time ? On the contrary God 
would rob Himself of the praise, which the living one would 
render to Him, and would so gladly render. His request 
that his life may be prolonged was not, therefore, for the 
sake of worldly possessions and enjoyment, but for the glory 
of God. He feared death as being the end of the praise 
of God. Fo r beyond the grave there will be no more psalms 

Digitized by 



sung , vi. 6. In the Old Testament, Hades was as yet un- 
vanquished, Heaven was not yet opened. In Heaven are the 
Q't>N 03 1 tut as yet no blessed D"W 03 . 

Vers. 12 — 13. In order to express the immediate se- 
quence of the fulfilling of the prayer upon the prayer itself, 
the otherwise {e.g. xxxii. 5) usual i of conjunction is omitted; 
on '131 PDOn cf. the echoes in Jer. xxxi. 13, Lam. v. 15. Ac- 
cording to our interpretation of the relation of the Psalm 
to the events of the time, there is as little reason for think- 
ing of 2 Sam. vi. 14 in connection withal no, as of 1 Chron. 
xzi. 16 in connection with i$y . In place of the garment of 
penitence and mourning (cf. pa/ nijno, Isa. iii. 24) slung 
round the body (perhaps fastened only with a cord) came a 
girding up (TW, synon. nan lxv. 13, whence "TON, rnjn) with 
joy. The designed result of such a speedy and radical 
change in his affliction, after it had had the salutary effect 
of humbling him, was the praise of Jahve: in order that 
my glory (*T)33 for ni33 — ^Si , as in vii. 6, xvi. 9, cviii. 2) 
may sing Thy praises without ceasing (eft) fut. Kat). And 
the praise of Jahve for ever is moreover his resolve, just as 
he vows, and at the same time carries it out, in this Psalm. 




2 IN Thee, Jahve, have I hidden — 
Let me not be ashamed for ever; 
In Thy righteousness set me free. 

3 Bow down Thine ear to me , deliver me speedily; 
Be Thou to me a rock of refuge, 

A house of fortresses, to save me. 

4 For my rock and my fortress art Thou, 

And for Thy Name's sake wilt Thou lead me and guide me. 
o Thou wilt pull me out of the net they have laid privily 
for me, 

For Thou art my defence. 
6 Into Thy hand do I commend my spirit, 

Thou redeemest me, Jahve, God of truth 1 


Digitized by VjOOQlC 



7 Hateful to me are the worshippers of Tain idols, 
Whereas I cleave to Jahve. 

8 I will exult and rejoice in Thy mercy, 
That Thou hast regarded my poverty, 

That Thou hast taken knowledge of the distresses of 
my soul. 

9 And hast not shut me up in the hand of the enemy, 
Thou hast set my feet in a broad place. 

10 Be gracious unto me, Jahve, for I am straitened : 
Consumed with grief is mine eye, and my soul, and 

my body. 

11 For spent is my life with sorrow, 
And my years with sighing; 

My strength has failed by reason of mine iniquity, 
And my bones are consumed. 

12 Because of all mine adversaries I am become a reproach, 
And a burden to my neighbours, and a terror to my 

Those who see me in the streets flee from me. 

13 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind; 
I am become like a broken vessel. 

14 For I hear the slander of many, 
Fear on every side; 

While they take counsel together against me— 
They devise to take away my life. 

15 But I — in Thee do I trust, Jahve, 
I say: Thou art my God. 

16 In Thy hand are my times, 

Deliver me out of the hand of mine enemies, and from 
my persecutors 1 

17 Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant, 
Save me in Thy mercy. 

18 Jahve, I shall not be ashamed, for on Thee do I call; 
The wicked shall be ashamed, they shall be silent in 


19 Lying lips shall be put to silence, 
Which speak insolently of the righteous, 
With pride and contempt. 

Digitized by 



20 How great is Thy goodness , which Thou hast reserved 

for them that fear Thee, 
Which Thou dost effect for them that hide in Thee in 
the presence of the children of men. 

21 Thou protectest them in the hiding-place of Thy presence 

from the factions of man ; 
Thou keepest them in a pavilion from the strife of 

22 Blessed he Jahve, 

That He hath shewed me marvellous lovingkindness in 
a strong city, 

23 Whilst I said in my feehle faith: 

"I am cut off from the vision of Thine eyes." — 
Nevertheless Thou heardest the cry of my supplication 
when I cried to Thee. 

24 love Jahve, all ye His saints; 
The faithful doth Jahve preserve, 

And plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. 

25 Be strong and let your heart take courage, 
All ye that wait on Jahve! 

In Ps. xxxi. the poet also, in 'Fl"lDK "0W (ver. 23), looks 
hack upon a previous state of mind, viz. that of conflict, 
just as in xxx. 7 upon that of security. And here, also, he 
makes all the D'TCP partakers with him of the healthful 
fruit of his deliverance (cf. xxxi. 24 with xxx. 5). But in 
other respects the situation of the two Psalms is very dif- 
ferent. They are both Davidic. Hitzig, however, regards 
them both as composed by Jeremiah. With reference to 
Ps. xxxi., which Ewald also ascribes to "Jeremja", this view 
is well worthy of notice. Not only do we find ver. 14a re- 
curring in Jeremiah, ch. xx. 10, but the whole Psalm, in its 
language (cf., e. g., ver. 10 with Lam. i. 20; ver. 11 with 
Jer. xx. 18; ver. 18 with Jer. xvii. 18; ver. 23 with Lam. 
iii. 54) and its plaintive tenderness, reminds one of Jeremiah. 
But this relationship does not decide the question. The 
passage Jer. xx. 10, like many other passages of this prophet, 
whose language is so strongly imbued with that of the Psal- 
ter, may he just as much a reminiscence as Jon. ii. 5, 9; 
and as regards its plaintive tenderness there are no two 

Digitized by 


382 PSALM XXXL 2—9. 

characters more closely allied naturally and in spirit than 
David and Jeremiah; hoth are servants of Jahve, whose 
noble, tender spirits were capable of strong feeling, who 
cherished earnest longings, and abounded in tribulations. 
We abide, though not without some degree of hesitation, by 
the testimony of the inscription; and regard the Psalm as s 
song springing from the outward and inward conflict (LXX. 
ixoriioeo)?, probably by a combination of ver. 23, £v Ixstaset, 
'TSra, with Sam. xziii. 26) of the time of Saul. While ver. 
12c is not suited to the mouth of the captive Jeremiah 
(Hitzig), the Psalm has much that is common not only to 
Ps. lxix. (more especially lxix. 9, 33), a Psalm that sounds 
much like Jeremiah's, but also to others, which we regard as 
Davidic ; viz. the figures corresponding to the life of warfare 
which David then lived among the rocks and caves of the 
wilderness; the cheering call, xxxi. 25, cf. xxii. 27, xxvii. 14; 
the rare use of the Hiph. N^BH xxxi. 22, xvii. 7; the desire 
to be hidden by God, xxxi. 21, cf. xvii. 8, lxiv. 3; etc. In 
common with Ps. xxii. this may be noted, that the crucified 
Christ takes His last word from this Psalm, just as He takes 
His last utterance but three from that Psalm. But in xxxi. 
10 — 14, the prefigurement of the Passion is confined within 
the limits of the type and does not undergo the same pro- 
phetical enhancement as it does in that unique Ps. xxii., to 
which only Ps. lxix. is in any degree comparable. The 
opening, vers. 2 — 4, is repeated in the centonic Ps. lxxi., 
the work of a later anonymous poet, just as ver. 23 is in 
part repeated in cxvi. 11. The arrangement of the strophes 
is not very clear. 

Vers 2 — 9. The poet begins with the prayer for deli- 
verance, based upon the trust which Jahve, to whom he 
surrenders himself, cannot possibly disappoint; and rejoices 
beforehand in the protection which he assumes will, without 
any doubt, be granted. Out of his confident security in God 
OrPQn) springs the prayer: may it never come to this with 
me, that I am put to confusion by the disappointment of my 
hope. This prayer in the form of intense desire is followed 
by prayers in the direct form of supplication. The suppli- 
catory iJCOjJB is based upon God's righteousness, which cannot 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXI. 2—9. 383 

refrain from repaying conduct consistent with the order of 
redemption, though after prolonged trial, with the longed 
for tokens of deliverance. In the second paragraph, the 
prayer is moulded in accordance with the circumstances of 
liim who is chased hy Saul hither and thither among the 
mountains and in the desert, homeless and defenceless. In 
the expression Tlj?D TlS , lij!0 is genit. appositionis : a rock of 
defence (fljJD from r$, as in xxvii. 1), or rather: of refuge 
(tlya — b\jua , from ny , tiy — 6U , as in xxxvii. 39, Hi. 9, 
and probably also in Isa. xxx. 2 and elsewhere);* a rock- 
castle, »'. e. a castle upon a rock, would be called flyc 
TIS , reversing the order of the words. TIJJO *MS in lxxi. 3, 
a rock of habitation, i. e. of safe sojourn, fully warrants this 
interpretation. rVTIXD, prop, specula, signifies a mountain 
height or the summit of a mountain; a house on the moun- 
tain height is one that is situated on some high mountain 

* It can hardly be doubted, that, in opposition tn the pointing at 
we have it, which only recognises one t'l>D 0^?^ from flJJ, to be strong, 
there are two different substantives having this principal form, viz. 
IpD a fortress, secure place, bulwark, which according to its derivation 
is inflected VJIJO , etc., and t'.yo equivalent to the Arabic ma'adh, a 
hiding-place, defence, refuge, which ought to have been declined '".'J" 3 
or VIJJD like the synonymous 'Dijq (Olshausen § 201, 202). Moreover 
tlJJ, 5Lc , like HDH, of which it is the parallel word in Isa. xxx. 2, 
means to hide one's self anywhere (AW and Hiph., Hebrew PVH, ac- 
cording to the Kamus, Zamachshari and Neshwan: to hide any one, 

e. g. Koran iii. 31); hence joLfc . a plant that grows among bushes (bin 
eth-shdk accordingto the Kamus) orin the crevices of the recks [fi-l-hazn 

c t 

according to Neshwani and is thus inaccessible to the herds; 3.x, 
gazelles that are invisible , i. e. keep hidden, for seven days after giving 

birth , also used of pieces of flesh of which part is hidden among the 

bones; a'jjjt , an amulet with which a man covers himself iprotegit). 

and so forth. — Wetzstein 

Consequently fl)>3 (formed like t>lxx> , according to Neshwan eqtii- 

valent to t>»Jt*) is prop, a place in which to hide one's self, synonymous 

with ilDnp, DUD, iiLo, c- LsxJLc , and the like. True, the two sub- 
stantives from TTV and T1JJ meet in their meanings like prorsidium and 
asylum, and according to passages like Jer. xvi. 19 appear to be blended 
in the genius of the language, bat they are radically distinct. 

Digitized by 


384 PSALM XXXI. 2—9. 

top and affords a safe asylum (vid. on zviii. 3). The thought 
'shew me Thy salvation, for Thou art my Saviour", under- 
lies the connection expressed by "O in vers. 4 and 5b. Eoster 
considers it to be illogical, but it is the logic of every believ- 
ing prayer. The poet prays that God would become to him, 
actu reflexo, that which to the actus directus of his faith He 
is even now. The futures in vers. 4, 5 express hopes which 
necessarily arise out of that which Jahve is to the poet. The 
interchangeable notions ""2" and b?Q , with which we are 
familiar from Ps. xxiii., stand side by side, in order to give 
urgency to the utterance of the longing for God's gentle 
and safe guidance. Instead of translating it "out of the net, 
which etc.," according to the accents (cf.x. 2, xii. 8) it should 
be rendered "out of the net there", so that "b UDJ2 is a re- 
lative clause without the relative. 

Into the hand of this God , who is and will be all this 
to him, he commends his spirit; he gives it over into His 
hand as a trust or deposit (|nj35); for whatsoever is depo- 
sited there is safely kept, and freed from all danger and all 
distress. The word used is not iZ'Zi , which Theodotion 
substitutes when he renders it ttjv ijiaotoo <J«>xV T(j <rjj «<xpa- 
t(0t)(u irpo|Ar,8et$, but inn ; and this is used designedly. The 
language of the prayer lays hold of life at its root, as spring- 
ing directly from God and as also living in the believer from 
God and in God; and this life it places under His protection, 
who is the true life of all spirit-life (Isa. xxxfiii. 16) and 
of all life. It is the language of prayer with which the dying 
Christ breathed forth His life , Luke xxiii. 46. The period 
of David's persecution by Saul is the most prolific in types 
of the Passion ; and this language of prayer, which proceeded 
from the furnace of affliction through which David at that 
time passed, denotes, in the mouth of Christ, a crisis in 
the history of redemption in which the Old Testament 
receives its fulfilment. Like David, He commends His spirit 
to God; but not, that He may not die, but that dying He 
may not die, i. e. that He may receive back again His 
spirit-corporeal life, which is hidden in the hand of God, in 
imperishable power and glory. That which is so ardently 
desired and hoped for is regarded by him, who thus in faith 
commends himself to God, as having already taken place, 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXI. 2—9. 385 

"Thou hast redeemed me, Jahve, God of troth." The perfect 
nnne is not used here, as in iv. 2, of that which is past, but 
of that which is already as good as past; it is not precative 
(Ew. § 223, ft), but, like the perfects in vers. 8, 9, an expression 
of believing anticipation of redemption. It is the prcet. con- 
fidential which is closely related to the prcet. prophet. ; for 
the spirit of faith, like the spirit of the prophets, speaks of 
the future with historic certainty. In the notion of ro* ba 
it is impossible to exclude the reference to false gods 
which is contained in n&K 'H^X, 2 Chron. xv. 3, since, in 
ver. 7, "vain illusions" are used as an antithesis. 0^>2n, 
ever since Deut. xxxii. 21, has become a favourite name for 
idols, and more particularly in Jeremiah (e. g. ch. viii. 19). 
On the other hand, according to the- context, it may also 
not differ very greatly from HJIDN bit , Deut. xxxii. 4 ; since 
the idea of God as a depositary or trustee still influences 
the thought, and nSK and fUVOK are used interchangeably 
in other passages as personal attributes. We may say that 
DDK is being that lasts and verifies itself, and noiDN is sen- 
timent that lasts and verifies itself. Therefore niON bn is 
the God, who as the true God, maintains the truth of His 
revelation, and more especially of His promises, by a living 
authority or rule. 

In ver. 7, David appeals to his entire and simple sur- 
render to this true and faithful God: hateful to him are 
those, who worship vain images, whilst he, on the other 
hand, cleaves to Jahve. It is the false gods, which are called 
toBj-'fen, as beings without being, which are of no ser- 
vice to their worshippers and only disappoint their expec- 
tations. Probably (as in v. 6) it is to be read n*OtP with the 
LXX., Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic versions (Hitzig, Ewald, 
Olshausen, and others). In the text before us, which gives 
us no corrective Keri as in 2 Sam. xiv. 21 , Ruth iv. 5 , ijki 
is not an antithesis- to the preceding clause, but to the 
member of that clause which immediately precedes it. In 
Jonah's psalm, ch. ii. 9, this is expressed by wqf-ijan Dns#c; 
in the present instance the Kal is used in the signification 
observare, colere, as in Hos. iv. 10, and even in Prov. xxvii. 
18. In the waiting of service is included, according to lix. 
10, the waiting of trust. The word PiB3 which denotes the 

VOL. I 25 

Digitized by 

Google x 

386 PSALM XXXI. 10—14. 

ftducia fidei is usually construed with a of adhering to, or 
byoi resting upon; but here it is combined with bt< of hanging 
on. The cohortatives in ver. 8 express intentions. Olshausen 
and Hitzig translate them as optatives: may I be able to 
rejoice; but this, as a continuation of ver. 7, seems less ap- 
propriate. Certain that he will be heard, he determines to 
manifest thankful joy for Jahve's mercy, that (")t$< as in 
Gen. xxxiv. 27) He has regarded (iizipXetys, Luke i. 48) his 
affliction, that He has known and exerted Himself about his 
soul's distresses. The construction 3 JHJ, in the presence 
of Gen. xix. 33, 35, Job xii. 9, xxxv. 15, cannot be doubted 
(Hupfeld); it is more significant than the expression "to 
know of anything"; s is like km in kmfi^vmax&iv used of 
the perception or comprehensive knowledge, which grasps 
an object and takes possession of it, or makes itself master of 
it. "P3Dn, ver. 9, oopcXeteiv, as in 1 Sam. xxiii. 11 (in the 
mouth of David) is so to abandon, that the hand of another 
closes upon that which is abandoned to it, t". e. has it 
completely in its power. 31T)C, as in xviii. 20, cf. xxvi. 12. 
The language is David's, in which the language of the Tora, 
and more especially of Deuteronomy (xxxii. 30, xxiii. 16), is 

Vers. 10 — 14. After the psean before victory, which he 
has sung in the fulness of his faith, in this second part of 
the Psalm (with groups , or strophes , of diminishing com- 
pass: 6. 5. 4) there again breaks forth the petition, based 
upon the greatness of the suffering which the psalmist, after 
having strengthened himself in his trust in God, now all the 
more vividly sets before Him. ^"ISi ongustum est mihi, as 
in lxix. 18, cf. xviii. 7. Ver. 10b is word for word like vi. 
8, except that in this passage to ^J? , the eye which mirrors 
the state of suffering in which the sensuous perception 
and objective receptivity of the man are concentrated, are 
added ttf'EO, the soul forming the nexus of the spirit and the 
body, and ffiQ, the inward parts of the body reflecting the 
energies and feelings of the spirit and the soul. D"n, with 
which is combined the idea of the organic intermingling of 
the powers of soul and body, has the predicate in the plural, 
as in lxxxviii. 4. The fact that the poet makes mention of 
his iniquity as that by which his physical strength has be- 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXI. 10—14. 387 

come tottering (b&3 as in Neb. iv. 4), is nothing surprising 
even in a Psalm that belongs to the time of his persecution 
by Saul; for the longer this persecution continued, the more 
deeply must David have felt that he needed this furnace of 

The text of ver. 12ab upon which the LXX. rendering is 
based, was just the same as ours : itapi iravra? too« i^P "* 
jaou sysvyjQyjv ovcioo? , xal tot; feixooi poo ocpoSpa xal <poj3o; toi; 
fvaxrroi? (too. But this aepSipa (Jerome nimis) would certainly 
only be tolerable, if it could be rendered, "I am become a 
reproach even to my neighbours exceedingly" — in favour 
of this position of "iho we might compare Judges xii. 2, — 
and this rendering is not really an impossible one; for not 
only has i frequently the sense of "even" as in 2 Sam. i. 23, 
but (independently of passages, in which it may even be 
explained as "and that", an expression which takes up what 
has been omitted, as in Amos iv. 10) it sometimes has this 
meaning direct (like xat , et = etiam), Isa. xxxii. 7, Hos. viii. 
6 (according to the accents), 2 Chron. xxvii. 5, Eccl. v. 5 
(cf. Ew. § 352,ft). Inasmuch, however, as this usage, in He- 
brew, was not definitely developed , but was only as it were 
just developing, it may be asked whether it is not possible 
to find a suitable explanation without having recourse to this 
rendering of the i as equivalent to Dl, a rendering which is 
always hazardous. Olshausen places 'JDK^l after ijrpot> i a 
change which certainly gets rid of all difficulty. Hitzig alters 
nftD into "I3D, frightened, scared. But one naturally looks 
for a parallel substantive to DCin, somewhat like "terror" 
(Syriac) or "burden". Still TiJD (dread) and nNtPD (a burden) 
do not look as though -ino could be a corruption of either 
of those words. Is it not perhaps possible for "IND itself to be 
equivalent in meaning to nxivo ? Since in the signification 
a<p65pa it is so unsuited to this passage, the expression would 
not be ambiguous, if it were here used in a special sense. 

J. D. Michaelis has even compared the Arabic t>jl(8»>jl) in 
the sense of onus. We can , without the hesitation felt b j 
Maurer and Hupfeld, suppose that 1NO has indeed this mean- 
ing in this passage, and without any necessity for its being 
pointed "lfco; for even the adverb "INO is originally a sub- 


Digitized by 


888 PSALM XXXI. 10—14. 

stantive derived from TIN, i>\ (after the form TSD from Tis) 
gravitas, firmitas, which is then used in the sense of graviter, 

firmiter (cf. the French ferme). Tin, »M, however, has the 
radical signification to he compressed , compact, firm , and 
solid, from which proceed the significations, which are di- 
vided between dda,jaidu, and Ada, jaudu, to he strong, pow- 
erful, and to press upon, to burden, both of which meanings 

o\ unites within itself (cf. on zx. 9). 

The number of opponents that David had , at length 
made him a reproach even in the eyes of the better disposed 
of his people, as being a revolter and usurper. Those among 
whom he found friendly shelter began to feel themselves 
burdened by bis presence because they were thereby im- 
perilled; and we see from the sad fate of Abimelech and the 
other priests of Nob what cause, humanly speaking , they, 
who were not merely slightly, but even intimately acquaint- 
ed with him (O'JTTO as in lv. 14, lxxxviii. 9, 19), had for 
avoiding all intercourse with him. Thus, then, he is like one 
dead, whom as soon as he is borne out of his home to the 
grave, men'are wont, in general, to put out of mind also (rctW 
3^0, oblivione extingui ex corde; cf. HSc, Deut. xxxi. 21). All 
intimate connection with him is as it were sundered, he is 
become "13k ^>32, — a phrase, which, as we consider the 
confirmation which follows in ver. 14, has the sense of vat 
periens (not vas perditum), a vessel that is in the act of T3N, 
t". e. one that is set aside or thrown away, being abandoned 
to utter destruction and no more cared for (cf. Hos. viii. 8, 
together with Jer. xlviii. 38, and Jer. xxii. 28). With V3 he 
gives the ground for his comparison of himself to a house- 
hold vessel that has become worthless. The insinuations 
and slanders of many brand him as a transgressor, dread 
surrounds him on every side (this is word for word the same 
as in Jer. xx. 10, where the prophet, with whom in other 
passages also srSEO "llJO is a frequent and standing formula, 
under similar circumstances uses the language of the psalm- 
ist) ; when they come together to take counsel concerning him 
(according to the accents the second half of the verse begins 
with Q^Oina), they think only how they may get rid of him- 
If the construction of 3 with its infinitive were intended to be 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXI. 15—19. 389 

continued in ver. 14d, it would have been n^BJ tDpb 10DT1 or 

Vers. 15 — 19. But, although a curse of the world and 
an offscouring of all people, he is confident in God, his De- 
liverer and Avenger. By >JNi prominence is given to the 
subject by way of contrast, as in ver. 7. It appears as though 
Jahve had given him up in His anger; but he confides in 
Him, and in spite of this appearance, he even confides in 
Him with the prayer of appropriating faith, ninj; or D'FijJ 
(1 Chron. xxix. 30) are the appointed events and circum- 
stances, the vicissitudes of human life; like the Arabic iddt 
(like ny from ijn), the appointed rewards and punishments. 
The times, with whatsoever they bring with them, arein the 
Lord's hand, every lot is of His appointment or sending. The 
Vulgate follows the LXX. , in manibut tuis sortes mem. The 
petitions of vers. 16ft, 17, spring from this consciousness that 
the almighty and faithful hand of God has moulded his life. 
There are three petitions ; the middle one is an echo of the 
Aaronitish blessing in Num. vi. 25. *]TltOp '3, which gives 
the ground of his hope that he shall not be put to shame 
(cf. ver. 2), is to be understood like '•Fnox in ver. 15, ac- 
cording to Ge8. § 126, 3. The expression of the ground for 
ntttoN-ijN, favours the explanation of it not so much as the 
language of petition (let me not be ashamed) as of hope. 
The futures which follow might be none the less regarded 
as optatives, but the order of the words does not require 
this. And we prefer to take them as expressing hope, so that 
the three petitions in vers. 16, 17, correspond to the three 
hopes in vers. 18, 19. He will not be ashamed, but the 
wicked shall be ashamed and silenced for ever. The form 
1D^, from Don, is, as in Jer. viii. 14, the plural of the fut. 
Kal D""^, with the doubling of the first radical, which is 
customary in Aramaic (other examples of which we have in 
1p? , DB" , CFP), not of the fut. Niph. DT, the plural of which 
would be IB'T, as in 1 Sam. ii. 9; conticescere in or cum is 
equivalent to : to be silent, i. e. being made powerless to 
fall a prey to hades. It is only in accordance with the connec- 
tion, that in this instance D^O , ver. 19, just like 00^, denotes 
that which is forcibly laid upon them by the judicial inter- 
vention of God: all lying lips shall be dumb, i. e. made dumb. 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 


390 PSALM XXXI. 20—25. 

pnjj prop, that which is unrestrained, free, insolent (cf. Ara- 
bic 'dtik, 'atifc, unrestrained, free*) is the accusative of the 
object, as in xciv. 4, and as it is the nominative of the sub- 
ject in 1 Sam. ii. 3. 

Vers. 20 — 25. In this part well-grounded hope expands 
to triumphant certainty; and this breaks forth into grateful 
praise of the goodness of God to His own, and an exhortation 
to all to wait with steadfast faith on Jahve. The thought: 
how gracious hath Jahve been to me, takes a more univer- 
sal form in ver. 20. It is an exclamation (DC , as in xxxvi. 8) 
of adoring admiration. niJT 21t0 is the sum of the good which 
God has treasured up for the constant and ever increasing 
use and enjoyment of His saints. ]5S is used in the same 
sense as in xvii. 14; cf. xb |tivvo xb xexpuppivov, Apoc. ii. 17. 
Instead of Fl^JJD it ought strictly to be pro ; for we can say 
2*'£ by_B, but not 2»b hv.&- What is meant is, the doing or 
manifesting of ;1D springing from this 21B, which is the 
treasure of grace. Jahve thus makes Himself known to His 
saints for the confounding of their enemies and in defiance 
of all the world besides, xxiii. 5. He takes those who are His 
under His protection from the #'{< 'D31, confederations 

of men (from G3~\, \j»fs, magna copia), from the wrangling, 
i. e. the slanderous scourging, of tongues. Elsewhere it is 
said , that God hides one in 1tTIN iriD (xxvii. 5) , or in "WO 
V£j2 (lxi. 5), or in His shadow (?y, xci. 1) ; in this passage 
it is : in the defence and protection of His countenance, i. e. 
in the region of the unapproachable light that emanates from 
His presence. The D3D is the safe and comfortable protec- 
tion of the Almighty which spans over the persecuted one 
like an arbour of rich foliage. With 'n ^JV)3 David again 
passes over to his own personal experience. The unity of 
the Psalm requires us to refer the praise to the fact of the 
deliverance which is anticipated by faith. Jahve has shewn 
him wondrous favour, inasmuch as He has given him a -|ij| 
"11510 as a place of abode. 115JO, from "lis to shut in (Arabic 
misr with the denominative verb massara, to found a fortified 
city), signifies both a siege, t. e. a shutting in by siege- 

* Bat these Arabic words do not pass over into the signification 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXI. 20—25. 391 

works, and a fortifying (cf. lx. 11 with cviii. 11), i. e. a 
shutting in by fortified works against the attack of the enemy, 
2 Ghron. viii. 5. The fenced city is mostly interpreted as 
God Himself and His powerful and gracious protection. We 
might then compare Isa. xxxiii. 21 and other passages. But 
why may not an actual city be intended , viz. Ziklag? The 
fact, that after long and troublous days David there found 
a strong and sure resting-place, he here celebrates before- 
hand, and unconsciously prophetically, as a wondrous token 
of divine favour. To him Ziklag was indeed the turning- 
point between his degradation and exaltation. He had 
already said in his trepidation (lbq, trepidare), cf. cxvi. 11: 
I am cut away from the range of Thine eyes. 'nrw is ex- 
plained according to |p|, an axe; Lam. iii. 54, 'FinJJ, and 
Jonah ii. 5, 'HBhU, favour this interpretation. He thought 
in his fear and despair, that God would never more care 
about him. JDK, verum enim vero, but Jahve heard the cry 
of his entreaty , when he cried unto Him (the same words 
as in xxviii. 2). On the ground of these experiences he 
calls upon all the godly to love the God who has done such 
gracious things, t. e. to love Love itself. On the one hand, 
He preserves the faithful (D'J-lCN, from 11DN = |1DN, uiotoi, 
as in xii. 2) , who keep faith with Him , by also proving to 
them His faithfulness by protection in every danger; on the 
other hand, not scantily, but plentifully (hi as in Isa. lx. 7, 
Jer. vi. 14: xaxi nepioaetav) He rewardeth those that 
practise pride — in the sight of God, the Lord, the sin of 
sins. An animating appeal to the godly (metamorphosed 
out of the usual form of the expression ^DN 1 pin , made esto), 
resembling the animating call to his own heart in xxvii. 14, 
closes the Psalm. The godly and faithful are here called 
"those who wait upon Jahve". They are to wait patiently, 
for this waiting has a glorious end; the bright, spring sun 
at length breaks through the dark, angry aspect of the 
heavens, and the esto mihi is changed into halleluja. This 
eye of hope patiently directed towards Jahve is the charac- 
teristic of the Old Testament faith. The substantial unity, 
however, of the Old Testament order of grace, or mercy, 
with that of the New Testament, is set before us in Ps. xxxii., 

Digitized by G00gk ^ 


which, in its New Testament and Pauline character, is the 
counterpart of Ps. xix. 



1 BLESSED is he whose transgression is taken away, 

whose sin is covered. 

2 Blessed is the man to whom Jahve doth not reckon ini- 

And in whose spirit there is no guile. 

3 When I kept silence, my hones rotted 
Through my constant groaning. 

4 For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me, 

My moisture was changed with the drought of summer. 

5 I acknowledged my sin unto Thee and did not cover my 

I said: "I will confess my transgressions unto Jahve" — 
And Thou, Thou hast taken away the guilt of my sin. 


6 For this cause let every godly man pray unto Thee in 

a time when Thou mayest he found; 
Surely, when the great waters rise — 
They shall not reach him. 

7 Thou art my hiding-place, from trouhle Thou wilt 

guard me, 
With songs of deliverance wilt Thou compass me about 

8 I will instruct thee and teach thee concerning the way 

thou shalt go. 
I will give counsel, keeping mine eye upon thee. 

9 Be ye not as horses, as mules without understanding, 
With bit and bridle is their mouth to be curbed, 
Otherwise they will not come near unto thee. 

Digitized by 



10 Many sorrows are to the ungodly, 

But whoso trusteth in Jahve, with favour doth He com- 
pass him about. 

11 Be glad in Jahve, and rejoice, ye righteous, 

And shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart ! 

There are several prominent marks by which this Psalm 
is coupled with the preceding (vid. Symbolce § 52). In both 
Psalms, with the word 'FnDN, the psalmist looks back upon 
some fact of his spiritual life; and both close with an exhor- 
tation to the godly, which stands in the relation of a general 
inference to the whole Psalm. But in other respects the two 
Psalms differ. For Ps. xxxi. is a prayer under circumstances 
of outward distress, and Ps. xxxii. is a didactic Psalm, con* 
cerning the way of penitence which leads to the forgiveness 
of sins; it is the second of the seven Psalmi panitentiales of 
the church, and Augustine's favourite Psalm. We might 
take Augustine's words as its motto: intettigentia prima est 
ut te noris peccatorem. The poet bases it upon his own per- 
sonal experience, and then applies the general teaching which 
he deduces from it, to each individual in the church of God. 
For a whole year after his adultery David was like one 
under sentence of condemnation. In the midst of this fearful 
anguish of soul he composed Ps. li., whereas Ps. xxxii. was 
composed after his deliverance from this state of mind. The 
former was written in the very midst of the penitential 
struggle ; the latter after he had recovered his inward peace. 
The theme of this Psalm is the precious treasure which he 
brought up out of that abyss of spiritual distress, viz. the 
doctrine of the blessedness of forgiveness, the sincere and 
unreserved confession of sin as the way to it, and the pro- 
tection of God in every danger, together with joy in God, 
as its fruits. 

In the signification psalmus didascalicus t. informatorius 
(Reuchlin: ut si liceret dicer e intellectificum vel resipiscentifi- 
cum), ij'Sfeto would after all be as appropriate a designation 
as we could have for this Psalm which teaches the way of 
salvation. This meaning, however, cannot be sustained. It 
is improbable that Ssfctj, which, in all other instances, 

Digitized by 


394 PSALM XXXII. 1—2. 

signifies inteUigens, should, as a technical term, mean intel- 
ligentem faciens; because the Hiph. ^StWI, in the causative 
meaning "to impart understanding 9 , occurs only in solitary 
instances (ver. 8, Prov. xxi. 11) in the Hebrew of the period 
before the Exile, and only came into common use in the later 
language (in Daniel, Chronicles, and Nehemiah). But, that 
which is decisive against the meaning "a didactic poem" is 
the fact, that among the thirteen Psalms which are inscribed 
^DETD, there are only two (xxxii. and lxxviii.) which can 
be regarded as didactic poems. Ps. xlv. is called, in addition, 
n'TT ■)'#, and Ps. cxlii., T)bzr,, two names which ill accord 
with a didactic intention and plan. Even Ps. xlvii. 8, a pas- 
sage of importance in the determining of the right idea of 
the word, in which ^vjfc'O occurs as an accusative of the 
object, excludes the meaning "didactic poem". Ewald observes 
(Dichter des Alten Bundes, i, 31) that "in Ps. xlvii. 8 we 
have the safest guide to the correct meaning of the word; in 
this passage ^tWD stands side by side with ibj as a more 
exact definition of the singing and there can be no doubt, 
that an intelligent, melodious song must be equivalent to a 
choice or delicate, skillfully composed song". But in all other 
cases, SstSTD is only found as an attribute of persons, because 
it is not that which makes prudent, but that which is in 
itself intelligent, that is so named. Even in 2 Chron. xxx. 
22, where allusion is made to the Maskil Psalms, it is the 
Levite musicians themselves who are called (alto bziv) D^'DEWI 
(i. e. those who play skillfully with delicate tact). Thus then 
we are driven to the Hiphil meaning of pensive meditation 
in cvi. 7, cf. xli. 2, Prov. xvi. 20 ; so that ^3trD signifies that 
which meditates, then meditation, just like T22C, that which 
multiplies, and then fulness; rvrNBto, that which destroys, t 
and then destruction. From the Maskil Psalms, as e. g. from. J 
liv. and cxlii., we cannot discover anything special as to the 
technical meaning or use of the word. The word means just 
pia meditatio, a devout meditation, and nothing more. 

Vers. 1 — 2. The Psalm begins with the celebration of \\ 
the happiness of the man who experiences God's justifying 
grace , when he gives himself up unreservedly to Him. Sin 
is called ytP'5, as being a breaking loose or tearing away 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXII. 3-5. 395 

from God; PiXEPl, as a deviation from that which is well- 
pleasing to God; |15), as a perversion, distortion, misdeed. 
The forgiveness of sin is styled NBO (Exod. xxxiv. 7), as a 
lifting up and taking away, aipatv and d<pcupeTv, Exod. xxxiv. 
7; HB3 (1 XXXT « 3, Prov. x. 12, Neh. iii. 37), as a covering, 
so that it becomes invisible to God, the Holy One, and is 
as though it had never taken place; 3#pi tib (2 Sam. xix. 
20, cf. _r y ^ ) to number, reckon, 06 Xo-jxCeoOat , Rom. iv. 
6 — 9), as a non-imputing; the Stxaioodvi) x<opl« ep-ymv is here 
distinctly expressed. The justified one is called ytPQ-iNM, 
as being one who is exempted from transgression, prcevarica- 
tione levatus (Ges. § 135, 1); *ifco, instead of NtM, Isa. xxxiii. 
24, is intended to rhyme with >1D3 (which is the part, to 
HD3, just as ^T)2 is the participle to ""!?); vid. on Isa. xxii. 
13. One "covered of sin" is one over whose sin lies the 
covering of expiation ("153, root rp, to cover, cogn. yic, 
J» , j t s , j+jz) before the holy eyes of God. The third 
designation is an attributive clause : "to whom Jahve doth 
not reckon misdeed", inasmuch as He, on the contrary, 
regards it as discharged or as settled. He who is thus 
justified, however, is only he in whose spirit there is no ~v?"i, 
no deceit, which denies and hides, or extenuates and excuses, 
this or that favourite sin. One such sin designedly retained is 
a secret ban, which stands in the way of justification. 

Vers. 3 — 5. For, as his own experience has taught the 
poet , he who does not in confession pour out all his corrup- 
tion before God , only tortures himself until he unburdens 
himself of his secret curse. Since ver. 3 by itself cannot be 
regarded as the reason for the proposition just laid down, 
>3 signifies either "because, quod* (e. g. Prov. xxii. 22) or 
"when, quum* (Judges xvi. 16, Hos. xi. 1). The DlNtf was 
an outburst of the tortures which his accusing conscience 
prepared for him. The more he strove against confessing, 
the louder did conscience speak; and while it was not in his 
power to silence this inward voice, in which the wrath of 
God found utterance, he cried the whole day, viz. for help: 
but while his heart was still unbroken, he cried yet received 
no answer. He cried all day long, for God's punishing right 
hand (xxxviii. 3, xxxix. 11) lay heavy upon him day and 

Digitized by 


396 PSALM XXXII. 3—5. 

night; the feeling of divine wrath left him no rest, cf. Job 
xxxiii. 14 sqq. A fire burned within him which threatened 
completely to devour him. The expression is 'jG"ina (like 
j#jD in zzxvii. 20, cii. 4), without 3, inasmuch as the fears 
which burn fiercely within him even to his heart and, as it 
were, scorch him up, he directly calls the droughts of summer. 
The z is the Beth of the state or condition, in connection 
with which the change, t. e. degeneration (Job xx. 14), took 
place; for mutare in aliquid is expressed by ^^]B!1. The b 
(which Saadia and other have mistaken) in nt?? is part of 
the root; l&6 (from "Tttjb, <\*J, to suck), inflected after the 
analogy of ?o| and the like, signifies succus. In the summer- 
heat of anxiety his vital moisture underwent a change : it 
burned and dried up. Here the music becomes louder and 
does its part in depicting these torments of the awakened 
conscience in connection with a heart that still remains un- 
broken. In spite of this Uatyakpa , however, the historical 
connection still retains sufficient influence to give *]JTH1X 
the force of the imperfect (cf. xxx. 9) : "I made known my 
sin and my guilt did I not cover up (riEQ used here as in 
Prov. xxviii. 13, Job xxxi. 33); I made the resolve: I will 
confess my transgressions to the Lord (DTin ■= JVnpn, Neh. 
i. 6, ix. 2; elsewhere construed with the accusative, vid. Prov. 
xxviii. 13) — then Thou forgavest", etc. Hupfeld is inclined 
to place TIION before "|yHiN inNtsn , by which "jjnmx and 
miN would become futures ; but TITO vb "Oljn sounds like 
an assertion of a fact, not the statement of an intention, 
and nttCO nntO is the natural continuation of the 'moN which 
immediately precedes. The form PNtW DDNI is designedly 
used instead of ttfrFl] . Simultaneously with his confession 
of sin, made fide supplice, came also the absolution: then 
Thou forgavest the guilt (py, misdeed, as a deed and also 
as a matter of fact, i. e. guilt contracted, and penance or 
punishment, cf. Lam. iv. 6, Zech. xiv. 19) of my sin. Vox 
nondum est in ore, says Augustine, et vulnus sanatur in corde. 
The rho here is the antithesis of the former one. There we have 
a shrill lament over the sinner who tortures himself in vain, 
here the clear tones of joy at the blessed experience of one 
who pours forth his soul to God — a musical Yea and Amen 
to the great truth of justifying grace. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXII. 6—10. 897 

Vers. 6 — 7. For this mercy, which is provided for every 
sinner who repents and confesses his sin, let then, every 
■von, who longs for ion, turn in prayer to Jahve tfcflo r\yb, 
at the time (xxi. 10, 1 Chron. xii. 22; cf. nj?2, Isa. xlix. 8) 
when He, and His mercy, is to be found (cf. Deut. iv. 29 
with Jer. xxix. 13, Isa. Iv. 6, INSSna). This hortatory wish 
is followed by a promissory assurance. The fact of *)Bts6 
C^l Dip being virtually a protasis: quum inundant aquce 
magna (b of the time), which separates p"i from vbtt, prohi- 
bits our regarding p") as belonging to vbx in this instance, 
although like t)N, "^N, 03, and jQ, p*i is also placed per hy- 
pallage at the head of the clause (as in Frov. xiii. 10: with 
pride there is only contention), even when belonging to a 
part of the clause that follows further on. The restrictive 
meaning of jn here, as is frequently the case (Deut. iv. 6, 
Judges xiv. 16, 1 Kings xxi. 25, cf. Ps. xci. 8), has passed 
over to the affirmative : certo quum, etc. Inundation or flood- 
ing is an exemplificative description of the divine judgment 
(cf. Nah. i. 8); ver. 6be is a brief form of expressing the 
promise which is expanded in Ps. xci. In ver. 7, David 
confirms it from his own experience. The assonance in i3p 
y-rtiri (Thou wilt preserve me, so that ns, angustum — an- 
gustice, does not come upon me, cxix. 143) is not undesigned; 
and after insm comes i}~\, just like "6d after torn in xxix. 
9. There is no sufficient ground for setting aside 'JT, with 
Houbigant and others, as a repetition of the half of the word 
'Jisn. The infinitive p (Job xxxviii. 7) might, like 3"), plur. 
'3"1 , ph , plur. ij?n, with equal right be inflected as a substan- 
tive; and tsbB (as in lvi. 8), which is likewise treated as a 
substantive, cf. yBi, Dan. xii. 7, presents, as a genitive, no 
more difficulty than does njn in the expression njn tiftX. With 
songs of deliverance doth Jahve surround him, so that they 
encompass him on all sides, and an occasion of exulting 
meets him in whatever direction he turns. The music here 
again for the third time becomes forte, and that to express 
the highest feeling of delight. 

Vers. 8 — 10. It is not Jahve, who here speaks in answer 
to the words that have been thus far addressed to Him. In 
this case the person addressed must be the poet, who, how- 
ever, has already attained the knowledge here treated of. 

Digitized by 


398 PSALM XXXII. 8—10. 

It is he himself who now directly adopts the tone of the 
teacher (cf. xxxiv. 12). That which David, inPs. li. 15, pro- 
mises to do, he here takes in hand, viz. the instruction of 
sinners in the way of salvation. It is unnecessary to read ^S^K 
instead of DSJPN, as Olshausen does; the suffix of ITCSPN 
and ?]"11K (for 7]"I1N) avails also for this third verb , to which 
W *p!$» equivalent to iiy ?|»Jjjj Ott> (fixing my eye upon 
thee, i. e. with sympathising love taking an interest in thee), 
stands in the relation of a subordinate relative clause. The 
LXX. renders it by eiua-tr ( p«o im. oe too; 6tp0aXjjio6; jioo , so 
that it takes pp, in accordance with its radical signification 
ftrmare, as the regens of lyy (I will fix my eye steadfastly 
upon thee); but for this there is no support in the general 
usage of the language. The accents give a still different 
rendering; they apparently make iyy an accus. adverb, (since 
WJ> "\-by flsyN is transformed from ity "fbv HSJPN) : I will counsel 
thee with mine eye; but in every other instance, b)i p£ means 
only a hostile determination against any one, e. g. Isa. vii. 
5. The form of address, without changing its object, passes 
over, in ver. 9, into the plural and the expression becomes 
harsh in perfect keeping with the perverted character which 
it describes. The sense is on the whole clear: not constrained, 
but willing obedience is becoming to man, in distinction from 
an irrational animal which must be led by a bridle drawn 
through its mouth. The asyndeton clause : like a horse , a 
mule (TiS as an animal that is isolated and does not pair; 

cf. <>Ii alone of its kind, single, unlike, the opposite of 

which is —l\ , a pair, equal number), has nothing remarkable 

about it, cf. xxxv. 14, Isa. xxxviii. 14. But it is not clear 
what VTJJ is intended to mean. We might take it in its usual 
signification "ornament", and render "with bit and bridle, 
its ornament", and perhaps at once recognise therein an 
allusion to the senseless servility of the animal, viz. that its 
ornament is also the means by which it is kept in check, 
unless ng, ornament, is perhaps directly equivalent to 
"harness". Still the rendering of the LXX. is to be respect- 
ed: in camo et frceno — as Jerome reproduces it — maxil- 
las eorum constringere quinon approximant ad te. If nj? means 
jaw, mouth or cheek, then 01^ IHJJ is equivalent to ora 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXII. 11. 399 

eorum obturanda sunt (Ges. § 132, rem. I), which the LXX. 
expresses hy aySai, constringe, or, following the Cod. Alex., 
oLflu (SfEei?), constringes. Like Ewald and Hitzig (on Ezek. 
xvi. 7), we may compare with njJ, the cheek, the Arabic 

Jl*., which, being connected with "vnz , a furrow, signifies 
properly the furrow of the face, i. e. the indented part 
running downwards from the inner corners of the eyes to 
both sides of the nose, but then by synecdoche the cheek. 
If 1HJJ refers to the mouth or jaws , then it looks as if bs 
*pi$? 3~lp mustbe translated: in order that they may not come 
too near thee, viz. to hurt thee (Targ., Syriac, Rashi, etc.); 
but this rendering does not produce any point of comparison 
corresponding to the context of this Psalm. Therefore, it 
is rather to be rendered : otherwise there is no coming near 
to thee. This interpretation takes the emphasis of the ^3 
into account, and assumes that, according to a usage of 
the language that is without further support, one might, for 
instance, say: nstt' ^b ^3, "I will never go thither." In 
Prov. xxiii. 17, ^3 also includes within itself the verb 
to be. So here: by no means an approaching to thee, »". e. 
there is, if thou dost not bridle them, no approaching or 
coming near to thee. These words are not addressed to God, 
but to man, who is obliged to use harsh and forcible means 
in taming animals, and can only thus keep them under his 
control and near to him. In the antitype, it is the sinner, 
who will not come to God , although God only is his help, 
and who, as David has learned by experience, must first of 
all endure inward torture, before he comes to a right state 
of mind. This agonising life of the guilty conscience which 
the ungodly man leads, is contrasted in ver. 10 with the 
mercy which encompasses on all sides him, who trusts in 
God. D'3"i , in accordance with the treatment of this adjec- 
tive as if it were a numeral (vid. lxxxix. 51), is an attributive 
or adjective placed before its noun. The final clause might 
be rendered: mercy encompasses him; but the Poel and 
ver. 7 favour the rendering: with mercy doth He encom- 
pass him. 

Ver. 11. After the doctrine of the Psalm has been un- 
folded in three unequal groups of verses, there follows, cor- 

Digitized by 



responding to the brief introduction, a still shorter close, 
which calls upon those whose happy state is there celebrated, 
to join in songs of exultant joy. 



1 SHOUT for joy, ye righteous, in Jahve, 
For the upright praise is comely. 

2 Praise Jahve with cithern, 

With a ten-stringed nabla play unto Him. 

3 Sing unto Him a new song, 
Play merrily with a joyful noise. 

4 For upright is the word of Jahve, 
And all His working is in faithfulness. 

5 He loveth righteousness and judgment; 
The earth is full of the mercy of Jahve. 

6 By the word of Jahve were the heavens made, 
And by the breath of His mouth all their host. 

7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap, 
He layeth up the depths in storehouses. 

8 Let all the earth fear before Jahve, 

Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of 

9 For He spake, and it was done; 
He commanded, and it stood fast. 

10 Jahve hath brought the counsel of the heathen to nought, 
He hath made the thoughts of the people of none effect. 

1 1 The counsel of Jahve standeth for ever, 

The thoughts of His heart to all generations. 

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is Jahve, 

The people whom He chooseth for His own inheritance. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXIII. 1—3. 401 

13 From heaven Jahve looketh down, 
He seeth all the children of men. 

14 From the place of His habitation He looketh 
Upon all the inhabitants of the earth, 

15 He, who fashioneth their heart together, 
Who considereth all their works. 

16 A king doth not triumph by great strength, 

A mighty man is not delivered by great power. 

17 A vain thing is a horse for victory, 
And its great strength cannot deliver. 

18 Behold, the eye of Jahve is upon them that fear Him, 
Upon them that hope in His mercy, 

19 To deliver their soul from death, 
And to keep them alive in famine. 

20 Our soul waiteth for Jahve, 
Our help and our shield is He. 

21 For in Him shall our heart rejoice, 
Because we trust in His holy Name 

22 Let, then, Thy mercy, Jabve, be upon us, 
According as we hope in Theel 

The Davidic Maskil, Ps. xxxii., is followed by an anony- 
mous congregational song of a hymnic character, which begins 
just like the former closes. It owes its composition appa- 
rently to some deliverance of the nation from heathen op- 
pression, which had resulted from God's interposition and 
without war. Moreover it exhibits no trace of dependence 
upon earlier models, such as might compel us to assign a 
late date to it; the time of Jeremiah, for instance, which 
Hitzig adopts. The structure is symmetrical. Between the 
two hexastichs, vers. 1 — 3, 20 — 22, the materia laudis is set 
forth in eight tetrastichs. 

Vers. 1 — 3. The call contained in this hexastich is 
addressed to the righteous and upright, who earnestly seek 

VOL. I. 26 

Digitized by 


402 PSALH XXXIII. 4—5. 

to lire a godly and God -pleasing life, and the sole deter- 
mining rule of whose conduct is the will and good pleasure of 
God. These alone know God, whose true nature finds in them 
a clear mirror; so on their part they are joyfully to confess 
what they possess in Him. For it is their duty, and at the 
same time their honour, to praise him, and make their boast 
in Him. nifcO is the feminine of the adjective DUO (formed 
out of >1NJ), as in cxlvii. 1, cf. Prov. xix. 10. On f|32 (LXX. 
xtOdtpo, xivupa) and ^23 (LXX. ^aXx^ptov, vdjUXa, vaoXa, etc-) 
vid. Introduction § II. ^2j) is the name given to the harp 
or lyre on account of its resemblance to a skin bottle or 
flask (root 33, to swell, to be distended), and -fivy b2i, "harp 
of the decade", is the ten-stringed harp, which is also called 
absolutely "llfc'y, and distinguished from the customary ^23, 
in xcii. 4. By a comparison of the asyndeton expressions in 
xxxv. 14, Jer. xi. 19, Aben-Ezra understands by "ropy b2i 
two instruments, contrary to the tenour of the words. Ge- 
catilia, whom he controverts, is only so far in error as that 
he refers the ten to holes (cap:) instead of to strings. The 
2 is Beth instrum. , just like the expression xtOotpiCsiv iv xi8d- 
poit, Apoc. xiv. 2. A "new song" is one which, in consequence 
of some new mighty deeds of God, comes from a new impulse 
of gratitude in the heart, xl. 4, and frequently in the Psalm3, 
Isa. xlii. 10, Judith vi. 13, Apoc. v. 9. In yywy the notions 
of scite and strenue, suaviter and naviter, blend. With 
njrnri2, referring back to i;n, the call to praise forms, as it 
were, a circle as it closes. 

Vers. 4 — 5. Now begins the body of the sang. The 
summons to praise God is supported (1) by a setting forth 
of His praiseworthiness * (a) as the God of revelation 
in the kingdom of Grace. His word is "IK'J , upright in in- 
tention, and, without becoming in any way whatever untrue 
to itself, straightway fulfilling itself. His every act is an 
act in nJlDN, truth, which verifies the truth of His word, 
and one which accomplishes itself. On 2nfo, equivalent to 
WD 2~N, vid. vii. 10, xxii. 29. HjriS is righteousness as 

* We have adopted the word "praiseworthiness" for the sake of 
conciseness of expression, in order to avoid an awkward periphrasis, in 
the sense of being worthy to be praised. — TR. 


Digitized by 


PSALM XXXIIL 10—11. 403 

conduct; tsQU/D is right as a rule of judgment and a state 
or condition. 1DTI is an accusative, as in cxix. 64; miseri- 
cordid Domini plena est terra (the introit for Misercordias 
Sunday or the second Sunday after Easter). 

Vers. 6 — 9. God's praiseworthiness (b) as the Creator 
of the world in the kingdom of Nature. Jahve's "13^ is 
His almighty "Let there be"; and VS ITP) (inasmuoh as 
the breath is here regarded as the material of which the 
word is formed and the bearer of the word) is the command, 
or in general, the operation of His commanding omnipotence 
(Job xv. 30, cf. iv. 9; Isa. xxxiv. 16, cf. xi. 4). The heavens 
above and the waters beneath stand side by side as miracles 
of creation. The display of His power in the waters of the 
sea consists in His having confined them within fixed bounds 
and keeping them within these. "|J is a pile, «'. e. a piled up 
heap (Arabic nadd), and more especially in reference to 
harvest: like such a heap do the convex waters of the sea, 
being firmly held together, rise above the level of the con- 
tinents. The expression is like that in Josh. iii. 13, 16, cf. 
Exod. xv. 8; although there the reference is to a miracle 
occurring in the course of history, and in this passage to a 
miracle of creation. DJ2 refers to the heap itself, not to the 
walls of the storehouses as holding together. This latter 
figure is not introduced until ver. lb : the bed of the sea 
and those of the rivers are, as it were, nnsiN, treasuries or 
storehouses, in which God has deposited the deep , foaming 
waves or surging mass of waters. The inhabitants (OB*, not 
, 2^''i , ) of the earth have cause to fear God who is thus omni- 
potent (|D, in the sense of falling back from in terror); for 
He need only speak the word and that which He wills comes 
into being out of nothing , as we see from the hexaemeron 
or history of Creation, but which is also confirmed in human 
history (Lam. iii. 37). He need only command and it stands 
forth like an obedient servant, that appears in all haste at 
the call of his lord, cxix. 91. 

Vers. 10 — 11. His praiseworthiness (c) as the irresistible 
Ruler in the history of men. Since in 2 Sam. xv. 34, xvii. 
14, and frequently, DSg ")Bi1 is a common phrase, therefore 
T>sn as in lxxxix. 34, Ezek. xvii. 19, is equivalent to "lBH 
(Ges. § 67, rem. 9). The perfects are not used in the abstract, 


Digitized by 


404 PSALM XXXIH. 12—19. 

but of that which has been experienced most recently, since 
the "new song" presupposes new matter. With ver. 11 com- 
pare Prov. xix. 21. The nxjj of God is the unity of the 
"thoughts of His heart ," i. e. of the ideas , which form the 
inmost part, the ultimate motives of everything that takes 
place. The whole history of the world is the uninterrupted 
carrying out of a divine plan of salvation, the primary 
object of which is His people, but in and with these are 
included humanity at large. 

Vers. 12 — 19. Hence the call to praise God is supported 
(2) by a setting forth of that which His people possess in 
Him. This portion of the song is like a paraphrase of the 
new in Deut. xxxiii. 29. The theme in ver. 12 is proved in 
vers. 13 — 15 by the fact, that Jahve is the omniscient Ruler, 
because He is the Creator of men, without whose knowledge 
nothing is undertaken either secretly or openly, and especially 
if against His people. Then in vers. 16 — 19 it is supported 
by the fact, that His people have in Jahve a stronger defence 
than the greatest worldly power would be. Jahve is called 
the fashioner of all the hearts of men, as in Zech. xii. 1, cf. 
Prov. xxiv. 12, as being their Maker. As such He is also 
the observer of all the works of men; for He is acquainted 
with their origin in the laboratory of the heart, which He 
as Creator has formed. Hupfeld takes ~irp as an equalisation 
(pariter ac) of the two appositions ; but then it ought to be 
!'2Cl (cf. xlix. 3, 11). The LXX. correctly renders it xcrca- 
jj.6va«, singillatim. It is also needless to translate it, as Hup- 
feld does: He who formed, qui finxit; for the hearts of men 
were not from the very first created all at one time, but the 
primeval impartation of spirit-life is continued at every birth 
in some mysterious way. God is the Father of spirits, Hebr. 
xii. 9. For this very reason everything that exists, even to 
the most hidden thing, is encompassed by His omniscience 
and omnipotence. He exercises an omniscient control over 
all things, and makes all things subservient to the designs 
of His plan of the universe, which, so far as His people are 
concerned, is the plan of salvation. Without Him nothing 
comes to pass; but through Him everything takes place. 
The victory of the king, and the safety of the warrior, are 
not their own works. Their great military power and bodily 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXIII. 20— 22. 405 

■ strength can accomplish nothing without God, who can also 
be mighty in the feeble. Even for purposes of victory 
(n^ltfFI, of. njjW), xxi. 2) the war-horse is "ij?#, i. e. a thing 
that promises much, but can in reality do nothing; it is not 
its great strength, by which it enables the trooper to escape 
(C^D'3' "The horse", says Solomon in Prov. xxi. 31, "is equip- 
ped for the day of battle, but njritCFiri '1*6, Jahve's is the vic- 
tory", He giveth it to whomsoever He will. The ultimate 
ends of all things that come to pass are in His hands, and — 
as vers. 18 sq. say, directing special attention to this impor- 
tant truth by S13PI — the eye of this God, that is to say the 
final aim of His government of the world, is directed towards 
them that fear Him, is pointed at them that hope in His 
mercy (0^n>»^>). In ver. 19, the object, ITOn 1 ?, is expanded 
by way of example. From His mercy or loving-kindness, 
not from any acts of their own , conscious of their limited 
condition and feebleness, they look for protection in the 
midst of the greatest peril, and for the preservation of their 
life in famine. Fs. xx. 8 is very similar; but the one passage 
sounds as independent as the other. 

Vers. 20 — 22. Accordingly, in this closing hexastich, 
the church acknowledges Him as its help, its shield, and 
its source of joy. Besides the passage before us, Pen occurs 
in only one other instance in the Fsalter, viz. cvi. 13. This 
word, which belongs to the group of words signifying hoping 

and waiting, is perhaps from the root rn (UCa., ,JG*» 

firmiter constringere sc. nodum), to be firm, compact, like nij? 
from H1J5, to pull tight or fast, cf. the German harren (to 
wait) and hart (hard, compact). In ver. 20& we still hear the 
echo of the primary passage Deut. xxxiii. 29 (cf. ver. 26). 
The emphasis, as in cxv. 9 — 11, rests upon Nii"l, into which 
12, in ver. 21, puts this thought, viz. He is the unlimited 
sphere, the inexhaustible matter, the perennial spring of 
our joy. The second 13 confirms this subjectively. His holy 
Name is His church's ground of faith, of love, and of hope; 
for from thence comes its salvation. It can boldly pray 
that the mercy of the Lord may be upon it , for it waits 
upon Him, and man's waiting or hoping and God's giving 
are reciprocally conditioned. This is the meaning of the 

Digitized by 



"1BV2. God is true to His word. The Te Deum laudamus 
of Ambrose closes in the same way. 



2{t I WILL bless Jahve at all times, 

Continually let His praise be in my mouth. 

3 z In Jahve shall my soul make her boast, 

The patient shall hear thereof and be glad. 

4 3 magnify Jahve with me, 

And let us exalt His name together. 

5 1 I sought Jahve, and He answered me, 

And out of all my fears did He deliver me. 

6 n Looking unto Him they are lightened, 

And their faces shall not be ashamed. 

7 l This afflicted one cried, and Jahve heard, 

And saved him out of all his troubles. 

8 n The Angel of Jahve encampeth round about them that 

fear Him, 
And delivereth them. 

9 12 Taste and see, that Jahve is good — 

Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. 
10 » Fear Jahve, ye His saints I 

For there is no want to them that fear Him. 
113 Young lions do lack and suffer hunger, 

But they that seek Jahve do not want any good thing. 

12 b Come, ye children, hearken unto me! 

The fear of Jahve will I teach you. 

13 d Whosoever thou art, dost thou desire long life, 

Dost thou love days that thou mayst see good — : 

14 3 Keep thy tongue from evil, 

And thy lips from deceitful speaking 

15 D Depart from evil and do good, 

Seek peace, and pursue it. 

16 y The eyes of Jahve observe the righteous, 

And His ears their cry. 

Digitized by 



17 b The face of Jahve is against the evil doers, 

To cut off their remembrance from the earth. 

18 X The former cry unto Jahve, and He heareth, 

And out of all their troubles He delivereth there. 

19 p Jahve is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, 

And saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 

20 "! Many are the afflictions of the righteous, 

But out of them all doth Jahve deliver him. 

21 Z' He preserveth all his bones, 

Not one of them is broken. 

22 p Evil shall slay the wicked, 

And they that hate the righteous shall be punished. 

23 b Jahve redeemeth the soul of His servant, 

And they shall not be punished who trust in Him. 

In Ps. xxxiii. 18 we heard the words, "Behold, the eye 
of Jahve is directed towards them that fear Him 11 , and in xxxiv. 
16 we hear this same grand thought, "the eyes of Jahve are 
directed towards the righteous*. Ps. xxxiv. is one of the eight 
Psalms which are assigned, by their inscriptions, to the time 
of David's persecution by Saul , and were composed upon 
that weary way of suffering extending from Gibea of Saul 
to Ziklag. (The following is an approximation to their chro- 
nological order: vii., lix., lvi., xxxiv., lii., lvii., cxlii., liv.). 
The inscription runs: Of David, when he disguised his under' 
standing (lejTO with Dag. , lest it should be pronounced 
1D$3) "before Abimelech, and he drove him away (fflBhyi, 
with Chateph Pathach, as is always the case with verbs 
whose second radical is "i, if the accent is on the third 
radical) and he departed. David, being pressed by Saul, fled 
into the territory of the Philistines; here he was recognised 
as the man who had proved such a dangerous enemy to 
them years since and he was brought before Achish, the 
king. Ps. lvi. is a prayer which implores help in the trouble 
of this period (and its relation to Ps. xxiv. resembles that of 
Ps. li. to xxxii.). David's life would have been lost had not 
his desperate attempt to escape by playing the part of a mad- 
man been successful. The king commanded him to depart, 
and David betook himself to a place of concealment in his own 
country, viz. the cave of Adullam in the wilderness of Judah. 

Digitized by 


408 PSALM XXXIV. 2-4, 

The correctness of the inscription has been disputed. 
Hupfeld maintains that the writer has blindly taken it from 
1 Sam. xxi. 14. According to Redslob, Hitzig, Olshausen, 
ind Stahelin, he had reasons for so doing, although they 
are invalid. The iisjtb of the Psalm (ver. 9) seemed to him 
to accord with laytD, 1 Sam. xxi. 14; and in addition to this, 
he combined ^HPFI, gloriaris, of the Psalm (ver. 3) with 
^frlTW, insanivit, 1 Sam. xxi 14. We come to a different con- 
elusion. The Psalm does not contain any express reference 
to that incident in Philistia, hence we infer that the writer 
of the inscription knew of this reference from tradition. His 
source of information is not the Books of Samuel; for there 
the king is called E^2N, whereas he calls him "^•D'CN, and 
this, as even Basil has perceived (yid. Euthymius Zigadenus* 
introduction to this Psalm), is the title of the Philistine kings, 
just as Pharaoh is title of the Egyptian, Agag of the Ama- 
lekite, and Lucumo of the Etruscan kings. His source of 
information, as a comparison of 2 Sam. xxii. 1 with Ps. 
xviii. 1 shews, is a different work, viz. the Annals of David, 
in which he has traced the Psalm before us and other Psalms 
to their historical connection , and then indicated it by an 
inscription in words taken from that source. The fact of 
the Psalm being alphabetical says nuiiung against David as 
its author (vid. on Ps. ix. — x.). It is not arranged for mu- 
sic; for although it begins after the manner of a song of 
praise, it soon passes into the didactic tone. It consists of 
verses of two lines , which follow one another according to 
the order of the letters of the alphabet. The i is wanting, 
just as the i is wanting in Ps. cxlv.; and after n, as in Ps. 
xxv., which is the counterpart to xxxiv., follows a second 
supernumerary c. 

Vers. 2 — 4. The poet begins with, the praise of Jahve, 
and calls upon all the pious to unite with him in praising 
Him. The substantival clause ver. 2b, is intended to have 
just as much the force of a cohortative as the verbal clause 
ver. 2a. rDTQN, like iPiBhai, is to be written with Chateph- 
Pathach in the middle syllable. In distinction from D^iy, 
afflicU, Dl.JJJ signifies submissi, those who have learnt endur- 
ance or patience in the school of affliction. The praise of 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXIV. 5—7. 409 

the psalmist will greatly help to strengthen and encourage 
such; for it applies to the Deliverer of the oppressed. But 
in order that this praise may sound forth with strength and 
fulness of tone, he courts the assistance of companions in 
ver. 4. To acknowledge the divine greatness with the utter- 
ance of praise is expressed by ^B with an accusative in lxix. 
31; in this instance with h: to offer nV"l3 unto Him, cf. xxix. 
2. Even con has this subjective meaning: with the heart 
and in word and deed , to place the exalted Name of God 
as high as it really is in itself. In accordance with the rule, 
that when in any word two of the same letters follow one 
another and the first has a Sh'bd, this Sh'bd must be an 
audible one, and in fact Chat'eph Pathach preceded by Gaja 
(Metheg), we must write nopllJl. 

Vers. 5 — 7. The poet now gives the reason for this 
praise by setting forth the deliverance he has experienced. 
He longed for God and took pains to find Him (such is the 
meaning of uFn in distinction from t^j?3), and this striving, 
which took the form of prayer, did not remain without some 
actual answer (rUJJ is used of the being heard and the ful- 
filment as an answer to the petition of the praying one). 
The perfects, as also in vers. 6, 7, describe facts, one of 
which did not take place without the other; whereas "OJJl^i 
would give them the relation of antecedent and consequent. 
In ver. 6, his own personal experience is generalised into 
an experimental truth, expressed in the historical form : they 
look unto Him and brighten up, i. e. whosoever looketh 
unto Him (^N 8F2PI of a look of intense yearning, eager for 
salvation, as in Num. xxi. 9 , Zech. xii. 10) brightens up. 
It is impracticable to make the D'lJS. from ver. 3 the sub- 
ject; it is an act and the experience that immediately accom- 
panies it, that is expressed with an universal subject and 
in gnomical perfects. The verb iru, here as in Isa. lx. 5, 
has the signification to shine, glitter (whence fTlPU, light). 
Theodoret renders it : '0 jxeta mareoc xtp 6eq> irpoaiwv «pa>T&« 
ixtiva? Hyexai voepou, the gracious countenance of God is re- 
flected on their faces; to the actus directus of fides supplex 
succeeds the actus reflexus of fides triumphans. It never 
comes to pass that their countenances must be covered with 
shame on account of disappointed hope: this shall not and 

Digitized by 


410 PSALM XXXIV. 8-11. 

cannot be, as the sympathetic force of btt implies. In all the 
three dialects ign (")?n) has the signification of being ashamed 
and scared; according to Gesenius andFiirst (root ID) it pro- 
ceeds from the primary signification of reddening, blushing; in 
reality, however, since it is to be combined, not with . t ^, but 

with , t ^ (cf. ybf, "1E3, jxc, *♦£), it proceeds from the pri- 
mary signification of covering, hiding, veiling (Arabic chafira, 
tachaffara, used of a woman, cf. chamara, to be ashamed, 
to blush, to be modest, used of both sexes) , so that conse- 
quently the shame-covered countenance is contrasted with 
that which has a bright, bold, and free look. In ver. 7 , this 
general truth is again individualised. By 'Jjj ni (like Oip HT 
in lxviii. 9) David points to himself. From the great perii 
in which he was placed at the court of the Philistines, from 
which God has rescued him, he turns his thoughts with 
gratitude and praise to all the deliverances which lie in 
the past. 

Vers. 8 — 11. This praise is supported by a setting forth 
of the gracious protection under which God's saints continu- 
ally are. The mrv ^N^D, is none other than He who was the 
medium of Jahve's intercourse with the patriarchs, and who 
accompanied Israel to Canaan. This name is not collective 
(Calvin, Hupfeld, Eamphausen, and others). He, the One, 
encampeth round about them, in so far as He is the Captain 
of the host of Jahve (Josh. v. 14), and consequently is accom- 
panied by a host of inferior ministering angels; or insofar 
as He can, as being a spirit not limited by space, furnish 
protection that covers them on every side, fun (°f- Zech. 
ix. 8) is perhaps an allusion to C]TjC in Gen. xxxii. 2 sq., 
that angel-camp which joined itself to Jacob's camp , and 
surrounded it like a barricade or carrago. On the fut. con- 
sec. CS^rpi, et expedit eos, as a simple expression of the se- 
quence, or even only of a weak or loose internal connection, 
vid. Ewald, § 343 , a. By reason of this protection by the 
Angel of God arises (ver. 9) the summons to test the gra- 
ciousness of God in their own experience. Tasting (ybuooo6oi, 
Hebr. vi. 4 sq., 1 Pet. ii. 3) stands before seeing; for spiritual 
experience leads to spiritual perception or knowledge, and 
not vice versd. Nisi gustaveris, says Bernard, non videbis. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXIV. 12-15. 4H 

David is desirous that others also should experience what 
he has experienced in order that they may come to know 
what he has come to know, viz. the goodness of God.* Hence, 
in ver. 10, the call to the saints to fear Jahve (WT instead 
of 1JO>, in order to preserve the distinction between veremini 
and videbunt, as in Josh. xxiv. 14, 1 Sam. xii. 24); for whoso 
fears Him, possesses everything in Him. The young mature 
lions may sooner lack and suffer hunger, because they have 
no prey, than that he should suffer any want whatsoever, 
the goal of whose striving is fellowship with God. The verb 
tfn (to lack, be poor, once by metaplasm Bhj, 1 Sam. ii. 
7, root uh, to be or to make loose, lax), elsewhere used 
only of men, is here, like civ. 21 ^nd #j?2, transferred to the 
lions, without D'"1»S3 being intended to refer emblematically 
(as in xxxv. 17, lvii. 5, xvii. 12) to his powerful foes at the 
courts of Saul and of Achish. 

Vers. 12 — 15. The first main division of the Psalm is 
ended; the second (much the same as in Ps. xxxii.) assumes 
more the tone of a didactic poem ; although even vers. 6, 
9 — 11 have something of the didactic style about them. The 
poet first of all gives a direction for fearjng God. We may 
compare xxxii. 8, li. 15 — how thoroughly Davidic is the 
turn which the Psalm here takes 1 D^a are not children in 
years or in understanding; but it is a tender form of address 
of a master experienced in the ways of God to each one and 
to all, as in Prov. i. 8, and frequently. In ver. 13 he throws 
out the question, which he himself answers in vers. 14 sq. 
This form of giving impressiveness to a truth by setting it 
forth as a solution of some question that has been propounded 
is a habit with David: xv. 1, xxiv. 8, 10, xxv. 12. In the use 
made of this passage from the Psalms in 1 Pet. iii. 10 — 12 
(= vers. 13 — 17a of the Psalm) this form of the question 
is lost sight of. To D«Pl yun, as being just as exclusive in 
sense, corresponds D'DJ 2T\'H, so that consequently rfltrh is 
a definition of the purpose. D^D" 1 signifies days in the mass, 
just as Q«n means long-enduring life. We see from James 

* On account of this rer. 9, reuoasQe xatfoete, x. t. X., Ps. xxxiii. 
(ixxiv.) was the Communion Psalm of the early church, Constit. Aposl. 
viii. 13, Cyril, Catech. My si. v. 17. 



412 PSALM XXXIV. 17— 2S. 

iii. 2 sqq., where ver. 13 also, in its form, calls to mind the 
Psalm before us, why the poet give the pre-eminence to the 
avoiding of sins of the tongue. In ver. 15, from among what 
is good peace is made prominent, — peace, which not only 
are we not to disturb, but which we are to seek, yea, pursue 
it like as the hunter pursues the finest of the herds. Let us 
follow, says the apostle Paul also, Rom. xiv. 19 (cf. Hebr. 
xii. 14), after those things which make for peace, nbuf is 
a relationship , harmonious and free from trouble, that is 
well-pleasing to the God of love. The idea of the bond of 
fellowship is connected with the corresponding word eiprjvij, 
according to its radical notion. 

Vers. 17 — 22. The poet now recommends the fear of 
God, to which he has given a brief direction, by setting forth 
its reward in contrast with the punishment of the ungodly. 
The prepositions btt and 2, in vers 16a and 17a, are a well 
considered interchange of expression: the former, of gracious 
inclination (xxxiii. 18), the latter, of hostile intention or 
determining, as in Job vii. 8, Jer. xxi. 10, xliv. 11, after the 
phrase in Lev. xvii. 10. The evil doers are overwhelmed by 
the power of destruction that proceeds from the counte- 
nance of Jahve, which is opposed to them, until there is not 
the slightest trace of their earthly existence left. The sub- 
jects to ver. 18 are not, according to cvii. 17—19, the jn s Wy 
(evil doers) , since the indispensable characteristic of peni- 
tence is in this instance wanting, but the D'pns (the righ- 
teous). Probably the 5 strophe stood originally before the 
y strophe, just as in Lam. ii — iv. the D precedes the p 
(Hitzig). In connection with the present sequence of the 
thoughts, the structure of ver. 18 is just like ver. 6: Clamant 
et Dominus audit «= si qui (quicunque) clamant. What is 
meant is the cry out the depth of a soul that despairs of 
itself. Such crying meets with a hearing with God , and in 
its realisation, an answer that bears its own credentials. 
"The broken in heart" are those in whom the egotistical, **. 
e. self- loving, life, which encircles its own personality, 
is broken at the very root; "the crushed or contrite ('K3^, 
from tCl, with a changeable a, after the form nl^8 from 
b*{<) in spirit" are those whom grievous experiences, leading 
to penitence, of the false eminence to which their proud self- 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXIV. 23. 413 

consciousness has raised them, have subdued and thoroughly 
humbled. To all such Jahve is nigh, He preserves them 
from despair, He is ready to raise up in them a new life 
upon the ruins of the old and to cover or conceal their in- 
finitive deficiency; and, they, on their part, being capable 
of receiving, and desirous of, salvation, He makes them 
partakers of His salvation. It is true these afflictions come 
upon the righteous, but Jahve rescues him out of them all, 
O^D = ]\zo (the same enallage generis as in Ruth i. 19, iv. 
11). He is under the most special providence, "He keepeth 
all his bones , not one of them (ne unum quidem) is broken" 
— a pictorial exemplification of the thought that God does 
not suffer the righteous to come to the extremity, that He 
does not suffer him to be severed from His almighty pro- 
tecting love , nor to become the sport of the oppressors. 
Nevertheless we call to mind the literal fulfilment which 
these words of the psalmist received in the Crucified One; 
for the Old Testament prophecy , which is quoted in John 
xix. 33 — 37 , may be just as well referred to our Psalm as 
to Exod. xii. 46. Not only the Paschal lamb, but in a com- 
parative sense even every affliction of the righteous, is a 
type. Not only is the essence of the symbolism of the worship 
of the sanctuary realised in Jesus Christ, not only is the history 
of Israel and of David repeated in Him, not only does human 
suffering attain in connection with Him its utmost intensity, 
but all the promises given to the righteous are fulfilled in 
Him xat' IW/jiv; because He is the righteous One in the most 
absolute sense, the Holy One of God in a sense altogether 
unique (Isa. liii. 11, Jer. xxiii. 5, Zach. ix. 9, Acts iii. 14, 
xxii. 14). — The righteous is always preserved from extreme 
peril, whereas evil (njn) slays (nniD stronger than tvpn) 
the ungodly: evil, which he loved and cherished, becomes 
the executioner's power, beneath which he falls. And they 
that hate the righteous must pay the penalty. Of the meanings 
to incur guilt, to feel one's self guilty, and to undergo 
punishment as being guilty, Dt&'NI (vid. on iv. 11) has the 
last in this instance. 

Ver. 23. The order of the alphabet having been gone 
through, there now follows a second D exactly like xxv. 22. 
Just as the first D, xxv. 16, is T\iB, so here in ver. 17 it is 

Digitized by 



"OB; and in like manner the two supernumerary Phe's cor- 
respond to one another — the Elohimic in the former 
Psalm, and the Jehovic in this latter. 



1 CONTEND, Jahve, with those who contend with me, 
Fight Thou against those who fight against me. 

2 Lay hold of shield and buckler, 
And stand up as my help. 

3 And draw forth the spear and shut up the way against 

my persecutors, 
Say unto my soul: I am thy salvation. 

t Let those be confounded and ashamed who seek after 
my soul, 
Let those fall back and be covered with shame who de- 
vise my hurt. 

5 Let them become as chaff before the wind, 
The Angel of Jahve thrusting them away. 

6 Let their way become darkness and slipperinesses, 
The Angel of Jahve pursuing them. 

7 For without cause have they hid for me their net, 
Without cause a pit have they digged for my soul. 

8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares, 
And let his net, which he hath hid, catch himself, 
With a crash let him fall into it. 

9 So shall my soul exult in Jahve, 
It shall rejoice in His salvation. 

10 All my bones shall say: Jahve, who is like unto Thee, 
Who deliverest the afflicted from him who is too strong 

for him, 
The afflicted and the poor from him who robbeth him I 

Digitized by 



11 Unjust witnesses rise up; 

That which I know not, they ask of m» 

12 They reward me evil for good, 
Bereavement hath come upon my soul. 

13 And I — when they were sick, my clothing was sack- 

I mortified my soul with fasting, 
And my prayer returned into my own bosom. 

14 As for a friend, a brother to me, did I go about, 

As one who sorroweth for a mother, I went softly about 
in mourning attire. 

15 And now when I halt they are joyous and gather them- 

selves together, 
The abjects gather themselves together against me, and 

those whom I do not know, 
They mock and cease not. 

16 After the manner of common parasites, 
They gnash upon me with their teeth. 

17 Lord, how long wilt Thou look on?! 
Bring back my soul from their destructions, 
My only one from the lions. 

18 I will praise Thee in a great congregation, 
Among much people will I sing praise unto Thee. 

19 Let not mine enemies falsely rejoice over me, 

Let not those who hate me without a cause wink the 

20 For they utter not peaceful words, 

But against those who are quiet in the land they devise 
deceitful matters. 

21 And they open their mouth wide concerning me, 
They say: Aha, aha, now our eye sees it. 

22 Thou seest it, Jahve, therefore keep not silence: 
Lord, remain not far from me. 

23 Stir up Thyself and awake to my right. 
My God and my Lord, to my cause. 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 


24 Do justice to me according to Thy righteousness, Jahve, 

my God, 
And let them not rejoice over me. 

25 Let them not say in their heart: Aha, it is our desire! 
Let them not say: We have swallowed him up. 

26 Let those be ashamed and be covered with confusion 

Who rejoice at my hurt, 

Let those be clothed with shame and dishonour 
Who magnify themselves against me. 

27 Let those shout for joy and rejoice who do not envy mc 

my right. 
And let them say continually: Jahve be magnified, 
Who hath pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. 

28 And my tongue shall declare Thy righteousness, 
Thy praise at all times. 

This Ps. xxxv. and Ps. xxxiv. form a pair. They are 
the only Psalms in which the name mrp "\vbo is mentioned. 
The Psalms that belong to the time of David's persecution 
by Saul are the Psalms which are more especially pervaded 
by such retrospective references to the Tora. And in fact 
this whole Psalm is, as it were, the lyrical expansion of that 
which David expresses before Saul in 1 Sam. iiW. 16 [15, 
Engl.]. The critical opinion as to the authorship of this 
Psalm is closely allied with that respecting the author of 
Ps. xl. and lxix. to which Ps. xxxv. is nearly related; cf. 
vers. 21, 27 with xl. 16 sq.; ver. 13 with lxix. 11 sq.; whereas 
the relation of Ps. lxxi. to Ps. xxxv. is decidedly a secon- 
dary one. Hitzig conjectures it to be Jeremiah; but vers. 
I — 3 are appropriate in the lips of a persecuted king, and 
not of a persecuted prophet. The points of contact of the 
writings of Jeremiah with our Psalm (Jer. xviii. 19 sq., 
xxiii. 12, Lam. ii. 16), may therefore in this instance be 
more sat'eiy regarded as reminiscences of an earlier writer 
than in Ps. lxix. Throughout the whole Psalm there 
prevails a deep vexation of spirit (to which corresponds 
the suffix to'— , as in Ps. lix. lvi. xi. xvii. xxii. lxiv.) 

Digitized by 



and strong emotion; it is not until the second part, where 
the poet describes the base ingratitude of his enemies, that 
the language becomes more calm and transparent, and a 
more quiet sadness takes the place of indignation and rage. 

Each of the three parts opens with a cry for deliverance; 
and closes, in the certain assumption that it will take place, 
with a vow of thanksgiving. The divisions cannot therefore be 
mistaken, viz. vers. 1 — 10, 11 — 18, 19 — 28. The relative 
numbers of the stichs in the separate groups is as follows: 
G. 6. 5. 5. | 7. 7. 5. | 6. 6. 6. 5. 

There are only a few Psalms of David belonging to the 
time of Saul's persecution, which, like Ps. xxii., keep within 
the limits of deep inward grief; and in scarcely a single 
instance do we find him confining himself to the expression 
of the accursed fate of his enemies with prophetic certainty, 
as that which he confidently expects will be realised (as, 
e. g., in vii. 13 — 17). But for the most part the objective 
announcement of punishment is swallowed up by the force 
of his inmost feelings, and changed into the most importu- 
nate prayer (as in vii. 7, xvii. 13, and frequently); and this 
feverish glow of feeling becomes still more harshly prominent, 
when the prayer for the revelation of divine judgment in 
punishment passes over into a wish that it may actually 
take place. In this respect Ps. vii. xxxv. lxix. cix. form a 
fearful gradation. In Ps. cix. , the old expositors count as 
many as thirty anathemas. What explanation can we give 
of such language coming from the lips and heart of the poet? 
Perhaps as paroxysms of a desire for revenge? His advance 
against Nabal shews that even a David was susceptible of 
such feelings; but 1 Sam. xxv. 32 sq. also shews that only 
a gentle stirring up of his conscience was needed to dissuade 
him from it. How much more natural — we throw out this 
consideration in agreement with Kurtz — that the prepon- 
derance of that magnanimity peculiar to him should have 
maintained its ascendancy in the moments of the highest re- 
ligious consecration in which he composed his Psalms 1 It 
is inconceivable that the unholy fire of personal passion 
could be here mingled with the holy fire of his love to God. 
It is in fact the Psalms more especially, which are the purest 
and most faithful mirror of the piety of the Old Testament: 
vou I. 27 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 



the duty of love towards one's enemies, however, is so little 
alien to the Old Testament (Exod. xxiii. 4 sq., Lev. xix. 18, 
Prov. xx. 22, xxiv. 17, xxv. 21 sq., Job xxxi. 29 sq.), that 
the very words of the Old Testament are made use of even 
in the New to inculcate this love. And from Ps. vii., in its 
agreement with the history of his conduct towards Saul, we 
have seen that David was conscious of having fulfilled this 
duty. All the imprecatory words in these Psalms come, 
therefore, from the pure spring of unself-seeking zeal for 
the honour of God. That this zeal appears in this instance 
as zeal for his own person or character arises from the fact, 
that David, as the God-anointed heir of the kingdom, stands 
in antagonism to Saul, the king alienated from God; and, 
that to his mind the cause of God , the continuance of the 
church, and the future of Israel, coincide with his own 
destiny. The fire of his anger is kindled at this focus (so to 
speak) of the view which he has of his own position in the 
course of the history of redemption. It is therefore a holy 
fire; but the spirit of the New Testament, as Jesus Himself 
declares in Luke ix. 55, is in this respect, nevertheless, a 
relatively different spirit from that of the Old. That act of 
divine love, redemption , out of the open fountain of which 
there flowed forth the impulse of a love which embraces 
and conquers the world, was then as yet not completed; 
and a curtain then still hung before eternity, before heaven 
and hell, so that imprecations like lxix. 20 were not under- 
stood, even by him who uttered them, in their infinite depth 
of meaning. Now that this curtain is drawn up, the New 
Testament faith shrinks back from invoking upon any one 
a destruction that lasts D^ 5 ; and love seeks, so long as a 
mere shadow of possibility exists, to rescue everything hu- 
man from the perdition of an unhappy future, — a perdi- 
tion the full meaning of which cannot be exhausted by hu- 
man thought. 

In connection with all this, however, there still remains 
one important consideration. The curses, which are contained 
in the Davidic Psalms of the time of Saul's persecution, are 
referred to in the New Testament as fulfilled in the enemies of 
Jesus Christ, Acts i. 20, Rom. xi. 7 — 10. One expression found 
in our Psalm, IjAiorjoav jjie Swpsdv (cf. lxix. 5) is used by Jesus 


Digitized by 


PSALM XXXV. 1-3. 419 

(John xy. 25) as fulfilled in Him; it therefore appears as 
though the whole Psalm ought to he, or at least may he, 
taken typically as the words of Christ. But nowhere in the 
Gospels do we read an imprecation used by Jesus against 
His own and the enemies of the kingdom of God; David's 
imprecations are not suited to the lips of the Saviour, nor 
do the instances in which they are cited in the New Testa- 
ment give them the impress of being His direct words : they 
are treated as the language of prophecy by virtue of the 
Spirit, whose instrument David was, and whose work the 
Scriptures are. And it is only in this sense that the Chris- 
tian adopts them in prayer. For after the pattern of his 
Lord, who on the cross prayed "Father forgive them", he 
desires that even his bitterest enemies may not be eternally 
lost, but, though it be only when in articulo mortis, that 
they may come to their right mind. Even the anathemas of 
the apostle against the Judaising false teachers and against 
Alexander the smith (Gal. i. 9, v. 12, 2 Tim. iv. 14), refer 
only to temporal removal and chastisement, not to eternal 
perdition. They mark the extreme boundary where, in extra- 
ordinary instances, the holy zeal of the New Testament comes 
in contact with the holy fervour of the Old Testament. 

Vers. 1 — 3. The psalmist begins in a martial and an- 
thropomorphical style such as we have not hitherto met 
with. On the ultima -accentuation of rO'l, vid. on iii. 8. 

r * * 

Both DM are signs of the accusative. This is a more natural 
rendering here, where the psalmist implores God to sub- 
jugate his foes, than to regard pm as equivalent to ny (cf. 
Isa. xlix. 25 with ib. xxvii. 8, Job x. 2); and, moreover, for 
the very same reason the expression in this instance is orb 
(in the Kal, which otherwise only lends the part. Qljh, lvi. 
2 sq., to the Niph. DnSj) instead of the reciprocal form 
DT\\t\. It is usually supposed that urb means properly 
vorare, and war is consequently conceived of as a devouring 
of men; but the Arabic offers another primary meaning: to 
press close and compact {Niph. to one another), conse- 
quently tMSrbq means a dense crowd, a dense bustle and 
tumult (cf. the Homeric xX6voc). The summons to Jahve to 


Digitized by 


420 PSALM XXXV. 1—3. 

arm, and that in a twofold manner, viz. with the jjo for 
warding off the hostile hlow and i"l3S (vid. v. 13) which cov- 
ers the body like a testudo — by which, inasmuch as it is 
impossible to hold both shields at the same time, the figure 
is idealised — is meant to express, that He is to make 
Himself felt by the foes, in every possible way, to their own 
confounding, as the unapproachable One. The 2 of THTjp 
(in the character of help turned towards me) is the so-called 
Beth essentia,* as in Exod. xviii. 4, Prov. iii. 26, Isa. 
xlviii. 10 (janquam argentum), and frequently. p")H has the 
same meaning as in Exod. xv. 9, cf. Gen. xiv. 14, viz. to 
bring forth, draw forth, to draw or unsheath (a sword) ; for 
as a sword is sheathed when not in use, so a spear is kept 
in the 8oopo86xT) (Odyss. i. 128). Even Parchon understands 
"llD to mean a weapon; and the word ofi-rapi?, in Herodotus, 
Xenophon, and Strabo, a northern Asiatic, more especially 
a Scythian, battle-axe, has been compared here;** but the 
battle-axe was not a Hebrew weapon, and *ud, which, thus 
defectively written, has the look of an imperative, also gives 
the best sense when so taken (LXX. ooYxXeioov, Targ. pliei), 
viz. close, t*. e. cut off, interclude scil. viam. The word has 
Dechi, because ■>Eni ntnj?^, "casting Thyself against my per- 

* The Hebrew Beth essentia is used much more freely and exten- 
sively than the Arabic, which is joined exclusively to the predicate of 
• simple clause, where in oar language the verb is "to be", and as a 
rule only to the predicate of negative clauses: laisa bi-hakimin, he is 
not wise, or laisa bi-l-hakimi, he is not the wise man. The predicate 
can accordingly be indeterminate or determinate. Moreover, in Heb- 
rew, where this 3 is found with the predicate, with the complement of 
the subject, or even, though only as a solecism {vid. Gesenins' The- 
saurus p. 175), with the subject itself, the word to which it is prefixed 
may be determinate, whether as an attribute determined by itself (Exod. 
vi. 3, 'W ^>N3), by a suffix (as above, xxxv. 2, cf. cxlvi. 5, Exod. xviii. 
4, Prov. iii. 26), or even by the article. At all events no syntactic ob- 
jection can be brought against the interpretations of l*fy{3i "in the 
quality of smoke", xxxvii. 20; cf. h^TO, lxxviii. 33, and of fM:, 
"in the character of the soul", Lev. xvii. 11. 

*• Probably one and the same word with the Armenian sakr, to 
which are assigned the (Italian) meanings mannaja, scure, brando ferro, 
in Ciakciak's Armenian Lexicon ; cf. Lagarde's Gesammcltc Abhandlungen, 
1806, 8. 203. 


Digitized by 


PSALM XXXV. 4—8. 421 

secutors", belongs to both the preceding summonses. Dach- 
selt rightly directs attention to the similar sequence of the 
accents in lv. 19, lxvi. 15. The Mosaic figure of Jahve as 
a man of war (ncr6o B*K, Exod. xv. 3, Deut. xxxii. 41 sq.) 
is worked out here with brilliant colours, under the im- 
pulse of a wrathful spirit. But we see from ver. 3b what a 
spiritual meaning, nevertheless, the whole description is in- 
tended to convey. In God's intervention, thus manifested 
in facts, he would gladly hear His consolatory utterance to 
himself. The burden of his cry is that God's love may break 
through the present outward appearance of wrath and make 
itself felt by him. 

Vers. 4 — 8. Throughout the next two strophes follow 
terrible imprecations. According to Fiirst and others the 
relation of t?l2 and *icn is like that of erblassen, to turn 
pale (cf. Isa. xxix. 22 with Ps. xxxiv. 6), and errSthen, to 
turn red, to blush, ana has, however, no connection with 
y*i2, nor has isn, yis-, >*=»■> an y connection with Jt ^ , to 

be red; but, according to its radical notion, tf'13 means 
disturbari (vid. vi. 11), and ")Bn, obtegere, abscondere (vid. 
xxxiv. 6). iafr, properly "let them be made to fall back" 
(cf., e. g., Isa. xlii. 17). On the figure in ver. 5a cf. lxxxiii. 
14. The clauses respecting the Angel of Jahve, vers, 56 
and 6b, are circumstantial clauses, viz. clauses defining the 
manner, nni (giving, viz. them, the push that shall cause 
their downfall, equivalent to CPP1 or crn, lxviii. 28) is 
closely connected with the figure in ver. 6a, and CBT1, 
with the figure in ver. 5a; consequently it seems as though 
the original position of these two clauses respecting the 
Angel of Jahve had been disturbed ; just as in Ps. xxxiv., the 
y strophe and the B strophe have changed their original 
places. It is the Angel, who took off Pharaoh's chariot 
wheels so that they drave them heavily (Exod. xiv. 25) that 
is intended here. The fact that this Angel is concerned here, 
where the point at issue is whether the kingship of the pro- 
mise shall be destroyed at its very beginning or not, har- 
monises with the appearing of the 'n ~\vbo at all critical 
junctures in the course of the history of redemption. 
fflp^n, loca passim lubrica, is an intensive form of expres- 
sion for npbn, lxxiii. 18. Just as nrn recalls to mind Exod. 

Digitized by 



421 PSALM. XXXV. 7. 8. 

xt. , so CB"f"} recalls Judges v. In this latter passage the 
Angel of Jahvo also appears in the midst of the conquerors 
who are pursuing the smitten foe, incarnate as it were in 

Ver. 7 also needs re-organising, just as in vers. 5 sq. 
the original positions of nm and DBT) are exchanged. 
CRttfl, ma* would be a pit deceptively covered over with a 
net concealed below; but, as even some of the older critics 
have felt, rims' is without doubt to be brought down from 
ver. la into lb: without cause, i. e. without any provocation 
on my part, have they secretly laid their net for me (as in 
ix. 16, xxxi. 5), without cause have they digged a pit for my 
soul. In ver. 8 the foes are treated of collectively. \TV vh 
is a negative circumstantial clause (Ew. § 341, b): impro- 
viso, as in Prov. v. 6, Isa. xlvii. 11 extrem. Instead of yis^fl, 
the expression is rra?Fl, as in Hos. viii. 3; the sharper form 
is better adapted to depict the suddenness and certainty of 
the capture. According to Hupfeld, the verb piNtf signifies 
a wild, dreary, confused noise or crash, then devastation 
and destruction, a transition of meaning which — as follows 
from nt<W (cf. info) as a name of the desolate steppe, from 
KlBf, a waste , emptiness , and from other indications — is 
solely brought about by transferring the idea of a desolate 
confusion of tones to a desolate confusion of things, without 
any intermediate notion of the crashing in of ruins. But it 
may be asked whether the reverse is not rather the case, 
viz. that the signification of a waste, desert, emptiness or 
void is the primary one, and the meaning that has reference 
to sound (cf. ^gyP, to gape, be empty; to drive along, fall 
down headlong, then also: to make a dull sound as of some- 
thing falling, just like rumor from mere, fragor from frangi) 
the derived one. Both etymology (cf. nnn , whence info) 
and the preponderance of other meanings, favour this latter 
view. Here the two significations are found side by side, in- 
asmuch as riNliS' in the first instance means a waste — devasta- 
tion, desolation, and in the second a waste — a heavy, dull 
sound, a rumbling (Sooicetv). In the Syriac version it is ren- 
dered: "into the pit which he has digged let him fall", as 
though it were riPIB' in the second instance instead of n^ttf; 
and from this Hupfeld, with J. H. Michaelis, Stier, and others, 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXY.9-H. 428 

is of opinion that it must be rendered: "into the destruction 
which he himself has prepared let him fall". But this quam 
ipse paravit is not found in the text, and to mould the text 
accordingly would be a very arbitrary proceeding. 

Vers. 9 — 10. This strophe, with which the first part of 
the song closes, contains the logical apodosis of those im- 
precatory jussives. The downfall of the power that is oppo- 
sed to God will be followed by the joy of triumph. The 
bones of the body, which elsewhere are mentioned as sharing 
only in the anguish of the soul (vi. 3, xxxi. 11, xxxii. 3, li. 
10), are here made to share (as also in li. 10) in the joy, 
into which the anxiety, that agitated even the marrow of 
the bones , is changed. The joy which he experiences in his 
soul shall throb through every member of his body and 
multiply itself, as it were, into a choir of praiseful voices. 
^3 with a conjunctive accent and without Makkeph, as also 
in Prov. xix. 7 (not ~bs, vid. the Masora in Baer's Psalterium 
p. 133), is to be read cat (with am yap, opp. t))jsn J>Bp) ac- 
cording to Kimchi. According to Lonzano, however, it is to 
be read col, the conjunctive accent having an equal power 
with Makkeph; but this view is false, since an accent can 
never be placed against Kametz chatuph. The exclamation 
*]103 7? is taken from Exod. xv. 11, where, according to the 
Masora , it is to be pointed ?|1D3 '0 , as Ben Naphtali also 
points it in the passage before us. The Dagesh, which is 
found in the former passage and is wanting here, sharpens 
and hardens at the same time; it requires that the expres- 
sion should be emphatically pronounced (without there 
being any danger in this instance of its being slurred over); 
it does not serve to denote the closer connection , but to 
give it especial prominence. 13BO pin, stronger than he , is 
equivalent to: strong, whereas the other is weak, just as in 
Jer. xxxi. 11, cf. Hab. i. 13, 13J3D prw, righteous, whereas 
he is ungodly. The repetition of >JJ|1 is meant to say: He 
rescues the ijv, who is |1>3N (poor) enough already, from 
him who would take even the few goods that he possesses. 

Vers. 11 — 16. The second partbegins with two strophes of 
sorrowful description of the wickedness of the enemy. The futu- 
res in vers. 11, 12 describe that which at present takes place. 
Can nj? are ji-Jptops? o5ixoi (LXX.). They demand from him 

Digitized by 


424 PSALK XXXV. 11—16. 

a confession of acts and things which lie entirely outside 
his consciousness and his way of acting (cf. lxix. 5): they 
would gladly brand him as a perjurer, as an usurper, and 
as a plunderer. 'What David complains of in ver. 12a, we 
hear Saul confess in 1 Sam. xxiv. 18; the charge of ingra- 
titude is therefore well-grounded. 'B'Ei'? b\2V? is not depen- 
dent on W&W*,, in which case one would have looked for 
'?1B'3 rather than btetf, but a substantival clause : "bereave- 
ment is to my soul", its condition is that of being forsaken 
by all those who formerly shewed me marks of affection; 
all these have, as it were, died off so far as I am concerned. 
Not only had David been obliged to save his parents by 
causing them to flee to Moab, but Michal was also torn 
from him, Jonathan removed, and all those at the court of 
Saul, who had hitherto sought the favour and friendship of the 
highly-gifted and highly-honoured son-in-law of the king, 
were alienated from him. And how sincerely and sympathis- 
ingly had he reciprocated their leanings towards himself! 
By vjni in ver. 13, he contrasts himself with the ungrateful 
and unfeeling ones. Instead of pw 'F)tP2b, the expression is 
y& Vthlb; the tendency of poetry far the use of the substan- 
tival clause is closely allied to its fondness for well-conceived 
brevity and pictorial definition. He manifested towards them a 
love which knew no distinction between the ego and tu, which 
regarded their sorrow and their guilt as his own, and joined 
with them in their expiation for it; his head was lowered upon 
his breast, or he cowered, like Elijah (1 Kings xviii. 42), upon 
the ground with his head hanging down upon his breast even 
to his knees, so that that which came forth from the inmost 
depths of his nature returned again as it were in broken ac- 
cents into his bosom. Riehm's rendering, "at their ungodliness 
and hostility my prayer for things not executed came back", 
is contrary to the connection, and makes one look for >^tt 
instead of 'pVl-^l*. Perret-Gentil correctly renders it, Je 
priai la tete penchee sur la poitrine. 

The psalmist goes on to say in ver. 14, I went about 
as for a friend, for a brother to me, i. e. as if the sufferer 
had been such to me. With ^IVCT, used of the solemn 
slowness of gait, which corresponds to the sacredness of 
pain, alternates runts' used of the being bowed down very 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXV. 11—16. 425 

low, in which the heavy weight of pain finds expression. 
CK'tatO, not: like the mourning (from tat, like b2?\ from 
ban) of a mother (Hitzig), but, since a personal ^3K is more 
natural, and next to the mourning for an only child the loss 
of a mother (cf. Gen. xxiv. 67) strikes the deepest wound : 
like one who mourns (~^2«* , like -p 1 ?, Gen. xlix. 12, from 
t>3N, construct state, like NOto) for a mother (the objective 
genitive, as in Gen. xxvii. 41, Deut. xxxiv. 8, Amos viii. 10, 
Jer. vi. 26). "i"ij? signifies the colours, outward appearance, 
and attire of mourning: with dark clothes, with tearful un- 
washed face, and with neglected beard. But as for them — 
how do they act at the present time, when be finds himself 
in ybs (xxxviii. 17, Job. xviii. 12), a sideway direction, i. e. 
likely to fall (from yhx , «JUb , to incline towards the side) ? 

They rejoice and gather themselves together, and this as- 
semblage of ungrateful friends rejoicing over another's 
misfortune , is augmented by the lowest rabble that attach 
themselves to them. The verb POJ means to smite; Niph. 
tCJ, Job xxx. 6, to be driven forth with a whip, after which 
the LXX. renders it jiaotiYSj, Symm. uX^xtai , and the Tar- 
gum conterentes me verbis suis; cf. }1B^3 7)27) , Jer. xviii. 18. 
But C2i cannot by itself mean smiters with the tongue. 
The adjective Dr3 signifies elsewhere with C^3"1 , one who is 
smitten in the feet, i. e. one who limps or halts, and with 
nil , but also without any addition, in Isa. xvi. 7, one smit- 
ten in spirit, t. e. one deeply troubled or sorrowful. Thus, 
therefore, D'2J from D33, like O'KJ from DM, may mean 
smitten men, t. e. men who are brought low or reduced 
(Hengstenberg). It might also, after the Arabic natvika, to 
be injured in mind, antvak, stupid, silly (from the same 
root "p, to prick, smite, wound, cf. ichtalla, to be pierced 
through «= mad), be understood as those mentally deranged, 
enraged at nothing or without cause. But the former defi- 
nition of the notion of the word is favoured by the continua- 

* According to the old Babylonian reading (belonging to a period 
when Pathaeh and Segol were as yet not distinguished from one 
another), basO (with the sign of Pathaeh and the stroke for Raphe 
below »• &)-, vid. Pinsker, Zur Getehichle det Karaitmus, S. 141, and 
Einleitung, S. 118. 

vol. i. 27-* 

Digitized by VjOOQlC 


426 PSALM XXXV. 11— 16. 

tion of the idea of the verbal adjective DTJ by V>J?T ^, 
persons of whom I have hitherto taken no notice because 
they were far removed from me , i. e. men belonging to the 
dregs of the people (cf. Job xix. 18, xxx. 1). The addition 
of >npT vbt certainly makes Olshausen's conjecture that we 
should read Dnrj somewhat natural; but the expression 
then becomes tautological, and there are other instances 
also in which psalm-poesy goes beyond the ordinary range 
of words , in order to find language to describe that which 
is loathsome, in the most glaring way. jnj?, to tear, rend 
in pieces, viz. with abusive and slanderous words (like e*S II-) 

also does not occur anywhere else. And what remarkable 
language we now meet with in ver. 16a! aljnp does not 
mean scorn or buffoonery, as Bottcher and Hitzig imagine*, 
but according to 1 Kings xvii. 12, a cake of a round for- 
mation (like the Talmudic nay, a circle); lyb, jeering, 
jesting. Therefore alyo 'Xgh means: mockers for a cake, i. e. 
those who for a delicate morsel, for the sake of dainty fare, 
make scornful jokes, viz. about me, the persecuted one, vile 
parasites ; German Tellerlecker, Bratenriecher , Greek xvw- 
ooxlXaxec, <{Ki>{iox6Xaxe{, Mediaeval Latin buccellarii. This 
Jlyo >3j6, which even Rashi interprets in substantially the 
same manner, stands either in a logical co-ordinate relation 
(vid. on Isa. xix. 11) or in a logical as well*as grammatical 
subordinate relation to its regens 'Efln. In the former case, 
it would be equivalent to: the profane, viz. the cake-jesters; 
in the latter, which is the more natural, and quite suitable: 
the profane (= the profanest, vid. xlv. 13, Isa. xxix. 19, 
Ezek. vii. 24) among cake-jesters. The 2 is not the Beth of 
companionship or fellowship , to express which cjr or [*IK 
(Hos. vii. 5) would have been used, but Beth essentia or the 
Beth of characterisation: in the character of the most abject 
examples of this class of men do they gnash upon him with 
their teeth. The gerund p'nrt (of the noise of the teeth being 
pressed together, like ,«**. of the crackling of a fire and the 

grating of a file), which is used according to Ges. § 131, 

* The Talmudic ruy (prb), B. Sanhedrin 101 6, which is said to 
mean "a jesting way of speaking", has all the less place here, as the 
reading wavers between fUJf (M)/) and MS*. 

Digitized by 


PSALM XXXV. 17—21. 427 

4, 6, carries its subject in itself. They gnash upon him 
with their teeth after the manner of the profanest among 
those, by whom their neighbour's honour is sold for a 
delicate morsel. 

Vers. 17 — 18. Just as the first part of the Psalm closed 
with wishes, and thanksgiving for their fulfilment, so the 
second part also closes with prayer and thanksgiving. DBS 
(compounded of 3 , instar, and the interrogative no which 
is drawn into the genitive by it; Aramaic ND3, Arabic kam, 
Hebrew, like D»2, with Dag. forte co